Cork drive-thru centre could vaccinate 1,800 people per day

Cork drive-thru centre could vaccinate 1,800 people per day

Ireland’s first drive-through flu vaccine clinic at the Market Green Retail Park, Midleton, Co Cork. The clinic opened on Saturday morning with 390 appointments and a further 124 on Sunday morning. Picture Dan Linehan

A drive-thru flu vaccine clinic in Cork has the capacity to vaccinate around 1,800 people per day but a lack of vaccine stock is impacting its operation.

In recent weeks, Ireland’s first drive-thru vaccine clinic was established in Midleton to provide the flu vaccine to patients on weekends.

According to organisers, the clinic has the capacity to vaccinate around 28,000 people over a 16-week period but international flu vaccine supply issues have already curtailed its operation.

The clinic had to close at 2pm on Sunday after it ran out of vaccines.

Speaking to The Echo, local GP Dr Mike Thompson, who was among those to set the clinic up, said:

“We could easily do 480 to 600 cars a day with the average occupancy of those cars being three.

“That means we could do about 1,800 a day.

“It could be even more if we did it not just on weekends and in other areas with more teams,” he added.

 Dr. Sean McCarthy giving the flu vaccine to Simon Ahern at Ireland’s first drive-through flu vaccine clinic at the Market Green Retail Park, Midleton, Co Cork. The clinic opened on Saturday morning with 390 appointments and a further 124 on Sunday morning. Picture Dan Linehan
Dr. Sean McCarthy giving the flu vaccine to Simon Ahern at Ireland’s first drive-through flu vaccine clinic at the Market Green Retail Park, Midleton, Co Cork. The clinic opened on Saturday morning with 390 appointments and a further 124 on Sunday morning. Picture Dan Linehan

“But it also comes down to stock and we don’t have enough to do every weekend at the moment.” The drive-thru clinic has had to be postponed until the final week in October and Dr Thompson said it is completely booked up even after that point, despite uncertainty regarding the supply of vaccines.

“We’re on again in mid-November and again at the end of November,” he revealed.

“It’s a pity we can’t do every weekend and just drive on with it.

“There was great excitement among the people working in the clinic and the people getting the vaccine because this is something new and innovative,” he said.

“General practice has mobilised and adapted to this very quickly but it’s just a case of getting more vaccines.

“Every GP you’d talk to is roaring for more vaccines.” The lack of flu vaccine supply in Ireland has been highlighted in recent weeks, with many GPs indicating that delays in accessing stockpiles are impacting vaccination clinics.

Dr Thompson said recently that GPs are keen to vaccinate as many people as possible before winter sets in and family doctors are forced to tackle a myriad of other issues.

The HSE has been contacted for comment.

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