Hospitals will be under real pressure in December and January, HSE boss warns

Chief executive Paul Reid has urged people to get the booster vaccine, with walk-in centres across the country open this weekend.
Hospitals will be under real pressure in December and January, HSE boss warns

By James Ward, PA

Hospitals will be under real pressure in December and January as a result of Covid-19, the head of the Health Service Executive has said.

Chief executive Paul Reid has urged people to get the booster vaccine, with walk-in centres across the country open this weekend.

He wrote on Twitter: “In December & January we know our hospitals will be under real pressure with currently 481 #COVID19 patients & 113 in ICU.

“We can all help to make this better by taking up the booster vaccine when offered.

Coronavirus vaccination
Queues at a walk-in vaccination centre in Greystones, Co Wicklow, earlier this week. Photo: Damien Storan/PA

“This weekend many locations open for walk-ins for specified groups.”

There were 18 walk-in vaccination centres open across the country on Saturday, with many experiencing long queues.

The centre at University College Dublin (UCD) has once again had to turn people away, with the HSE saying on Twitter it had reached capacity and would not be accepting any more walk-ins.

People had been queueing there for up to two and a half hours for a booster jab.

On Friday, Taoiseach Micheál Martin apologised to people who were turned away from the centre without receiving a vaccine earlier in the week.

In Tipperary, a centre in Clonmel saw queueing times of two hours and twenty minutes, while there were waits of 90 minutes in Nenagh.

Other centres saw little or no queueing.

On Friday, Mr Martin said he was “concerned but hopeful” about Ireland’s Covid-19 situation, as he received a booster jab in Cork.

He said he hoped the HSE could deliver 1.5 million booster jabs before the end of the year.

Mr Martin, speaking at Cork City Hall, where he paid tribute to HSE staff, re-iterated that the uncertainty of the pandemic meant nothing could be ruled out.

“We have a series of restrictions in place now to January 9th. That was agreed by Government following advice from Nphet [the National Public Health Emergency Team].

“One can never rule out anything in relation to Covid-19 because there are many twists and turns.”

He urged people to take care in the weeks ahead, but said that hospital numbers had become more encouraging in recent days.

Saturday brought a further 4,004 confirmed cases of Covid-19 in Ireland, the Department of Health said.

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