FRONTLINE workers are being praised for their efforts to get 100,000 Covid-19 vaccines administered just weeks into their rollout in pharmacies.
The Irish Pharmacy Union (IPU) confirmed the number following what has been described as an insatiable demand among those aged between 18 and 34 for the service.
Cork Superintendent pharmacist at Pharmacy First Plus, Keith O'Hourihane is urging anyone still waiting for an appointment to be patient, as increased supply of the Janssen vaccine is expected from early August.
Describing the buzz around their introduction early this month he said:"On the morning of the Taoiseach's announcement, we received 1,299 calls from people hoping to get the vaccine.
"Everything had to go online after that. I took the pressure away from our pharmacy teams because it's just impossible to try to book in all those appointments. The demand in the community for vaccines has been insatiable. Our website crashed from people trying to book in. When we upgraded it even that one crashed. It's only been three weeks and we have already administered over 30 a day in each pharmacy. If the vaccines keep coming one can only imagine how many will get done."
He said they will continue to cater for demand by vaccinating as many people as possible.
"We will get to everybody provided the vaccines keep coming. This isn't a perfect science but it is getting there. One can only imagine-if the vaccines keep coming in-how many we will get done. We are perfectly placed to get involved and help out. The convenience of coming into your local pharmacy knows no bounds."
He advised people not to double book appointments adding:"We are vaccinating in excess of 200 people a week which is phenomenal. There were a small number of no-shows last week but luckily, we haven't had to waste a vaccine yet. If someone doesn't turn up there is only a small window for the vaccine to be used so we will keep going through the list to find someone who is available. We would advise people making appointments to only book in with one pharmacy so their appointment doesn't get wasted."
IPU Secretary-General Darragh O’Loughlin welcomed the news that 100,000 vaccines have been administered by pharmacists.
"The immediate success of the pharmacy programme has demonstrated the value of our involvement. As of Monday, pharmacies had administered 100,335 vaccines nationwide and since the service was opened to younger people that number has been growing consistently by 5,000 to 10,000 vaccines per day."