A drive-thru vaccine clinic is to open in Cork to administer the flu vaccine next month.
The clinic, established and run by local GPs, will be located in Midleton and will be available free of charge to eligible patients. It will open on October 10 subject to flu vaccine supply.
The drive-thru clinic, found at www.flu-vaccine.ie, allows people to check their eligibility and book their appointment before driving to the clinic at their allotted time.
Patients undergo a temperature check before receiving the vaccination in their car. They are then asked to wait in their car for 15 minutes in a nearby car park before leaving.
The initiative has been set up in a bid to help keep daytime general practice free for acute capacity this winter.
Eligible patients include those who are 65 years of age and over; pregnant women; anyone from six months old to 64 years with a long-term health condition; healthcare workers; children aged two to 12 years old; those in regular contact with pigs, poultry or water fowl; and close or household contacts of medically at risk groups.
A flu vaccine nasal spray will be available for all children aged two to 12 years old from late October this year.
Speaking to The Echo recently, Midleton GP Dr Mike Thompson, who helped establish the drive-thru clinic, highlighted the importance of the flu vaccine in ensuring the health service can cope over the coming winter.
“This time of year, medical minds turn to the coming winter and the challenges it will pose,” he said.
“An extra predicament this season will be how we will vaccinate a large cohort of our population against influenza in the current uncertain environment.
“Coronavirus may have taken the spotlight, but influenza remains a perennial threat,” he added.
Dr Thompson said the global pandemic means general practice will have to offer “novel, safe and efficient mass vaccination”.
He said GP forums have been buzzing in recent weeks with discussions about drive-thru clinics.