GPs could double the number of Covid-19 booster vaccinations carried out in a day if the 15-minute wait time following each dose was eliminated, the chair of the Irish Medical Organisation (IMO)’s GP committee has said.
It comes as the 15-minute observation period following a dose of either the Pfizer/BioNTech or Moderna vaccine has been temporarily suspended in the UK, in order to speed up the booster jab rollout amid the arrival of the Omicron variant.
Dr Denis McCauley told RTÉ radio’s News at One that he agreed with the Irish Government’s booster campaign strategy, which he described as proactive rather than reactive.
GPs had agreed to be “very engaged” in the booster campaign with the aim of getting the third dose to as many people as possible in the next four weeks, he said.
GPs would be urging the public not to make non-urgent appointments for the next few weeks as the priority for GPs would be in rolling out the booster campaign.
Dr McCauley urged the public to “put a booster on your Christmas list”.
“The best way you can protect yourself and the country is to get the booster vaccine,” he added.
Dr McCauley said that at the peak of the vaccination campaign last summer, GPs had carried out 150,000 vaccinations per week, and he hoped that figure could be achieved again.
The Government is reportedly planning to overhaul the rollout of boosters over the coming weeks, with healthcare and public sector staff being redeployed in an effort to tackle a potential wave of Omicron infections.
Hundreds of additional GPs and pharmacists will be asked to join the booster programme, while vaccination centres around the country will operate extended opening hours in addition to more centres being set-up.
It is expected that children in high-risk categories will begin receiving the vaccine from December 20th, followed by other cohorts on January 10th. People in their 30s and 40s are also expected to hear before Christmas as to when they will receive their additional dose.