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

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

Hundreds who turned up for their booster shot at UCD on Saturday morning were turned away because of long queues and delays on the university campus.

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 there were already more than 50 people in the queue when he arrived at 6.45am. There are 10 booths in operation with a capacity of 120 an hour.

By 9.15am, there were 472 people awaiting the booster, according to Mr Kane’s headcount. Anyone else who arrived after this time was turned away while those at the back of the queue were told they would have to wait four hours to get their booster vaccination.

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

Long queues were also 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.

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

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.

“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.”

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

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