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Hundreds turned away from UCD vaccination centre amid high demand for boosters


So many people turned up for their booster shots at UCD on Saturday morning that hundreds were turned away by 9.30am.

The UCD Gerard Manly Building vaccination centre was due to open its doors at 9am, but such was the queue that it opened at 7.50am.

The centre is administering booster vaccines to those aged between 50 and 69 and healthcare workers.

UCD site manager Hugh Kane said that when he arrived at 6.45am there were already more than 50 people in the queue.

There are 10 booths in operation throughout the door with a capacity of 120 an hour. Mr Kane did a head count at 9.15am of those already in the queue. He counted up to 472 and the rest were turned away.

Those at the back of the queue were told that they would have to wait four hours to get their booster vaccination.

More than 50 people were in the queue by 6.45am, according to the site manager at UCD, in anticipation of the centre opening at 9am. Photograph: Alan Betson
More than 50 people were in the queue by 6.45am, according to the site manager at UCD, in anticipation of the centre opening at 9am. Photograph: Alan Betson

“We will evaluate this site and we will evaluate this walk-in today. At a walk-in people arrive when they arrive and we will just have to manage it as best we can,” he said.

“We are not in a position to take anybody else at this stage as we have booked appointments in the afternoon.”

The early arrivals waited for two hours to get vaccinated. “I was here on Thursday and I was turned away so I was there at 7.30am. There was about 150 people in front of me. It’s a relief to get my booster shot,” said Maura Lynch.

Blanaid Mehigan complained that an official said her vaccination certificate could not be read. “He let 20 people through when I was queuing. A girl who is going to Argentina was out by a day was turned away. I don’t understand it. It’s a bloody flu shot,” said Ms Mehigan.

Many people who thought they had arrived early were turned away. “I’m frustrated. This is clearly not working properly,” said Karen O’Sullivan, who arrived just after 9am.

Some at the back of the queue were advised they would be waiting four hours for a booster. Photograph: Alan Betson
Some at the back of the queue were advised they would be waiting four hours for a booster. Photograph: Alan Betson

“We are being criticised for not taking the flu shot, yet you can see the enthusiasm and the commitment here today. I don’t mind two hours waiting, but to wait and be told it is not going to happen is disappointing.”

There were reports of people at the back of the queue remonstrating with Health Service Executive officials about being turned away.

Long queues were reported at City Hall in Cork and at the CityWest vaccination centre in Dublin. There were queues at the vaccination centre in Kilkenny city an hour before it was due to open at 9am.



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