HSE vaccine helpline getting 15,000 calls a day

HSE vaccine helpline getting 15,000 calls a day

Some 87% of adults have received at least one dose. Photo: Denis Minihane

The HSE vaccine helpline is receiving an average of 15,000 calls per day as the vaccine rollout continues to ramp up.

A HSE spokeswoman said the highest number of calls received was on July 6 when it was announced the single-shot Janssen vaccine would be available for people aged 18 to 34.

Staff operating the vaccine helpline can share information on vaccine safety and availability. The helpline can also be used by people who wish to register by phone instead of using the website or to ask about delays to a vaccine appointment.

The HSE also answers queries on vaccines and Covid-19 through social media channels including Facebook and Twitter. This unit now responds to an average of 900 queries daily, the spokeswoman said.

She said the peak was again seen on July 6 when 1,568 queries were received online.

She said: “The vast majority of queries are vaccine-related. There are also a number of Covid-19 queries for example from people who are a close contact of a positive case.” 

The unit has also reported “over 800 posts” to the social media companies due to the posts containing misinformation.

“We continue to report posts that we believe are potentially harmful to people’s health or contain deliberate misinformation in relation to a range of health topics,” the HSE spokeswoman said.

Up to Sunday, 73% of adults in Ireland were fully vaccinated, according to the chair of the Taskforce on Covid-19 Vaccination Professor Brian MacCraith. Some 87% of adults have received at least one dose.

In the last six weeks about 2.1m doses have been given, with a total of 5.87m doses given since late December, Prof. McCraith said.

Meanwhile, some 1,352 new cases of Covid-19 have been reported. It comes as about 18,000 people including thousands of teens aged 16 to 17 used pop-up walk-in vaccination clinics.

This included 2,875 people who went to clinics run by the South/South West Hospital Group across Cork, Kerry, Tipperary and Waterford, according to the HSE.

HSE CEO Paul Reid said: “They were just a targeted initiative which has worked exactly as we would have liked it, in fact much better particularly with the uptake for younger people.” 

Speaking to RTÉ on Monday he said the HSE continues to work on the consent process to allow 280,000 children aged 12 to 15 register for a vaccine.

“We do see that GPs and pharmacies can play a key role, particularly to prioritise some of those most vulnerable people and children in that age group,” he said.

Chief clinical officer Dr Colm Henry said he expects these vaccinations to start within the next two weeks. He told RTÉ changes to the IT systems are needed.

He said: 'We've got to prepare the consent forms that parents will need to consider and make the right decision for their child.” 

The HSE expects to get the first jab to children during August, and then the second in September.

The HSE CEO also said four of the 26 Covid-19 patients in ICUs at the weekend are aged between 19 and 30, with the remainder over 50.

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