Waterford’s mass vaccination centre will remain closed this Saturday, after unexpectedly closing early for business on two separate occasions this week.
Situated at the WIT arena, the centre was announced in February and billed as having the capacity to deliver roughly 3,000 vaccines per day when fully operational.
However, on both Tuesday and Thursday of this week, the centre was closed early for the day, despite staff on site being rostered for 12-hour shifts, from 8am until 8pm.
Staff, including security, administrative and Defence Forces workers, were similarly informed on Thursday that the centre would remain closed on Saturday.
In terms of the closure, the HSE said that “supply of vaccines will be the only limiting factor”, while it’s understood that the staff sent home were informed that the operation of the centre is “a learning process”, with multiple IT and startup problems to be ironed out.
A HSE spokesperson said it is “important to note that vaccination centres are currently engaged in the vaccination of cohorts 2 and 4 primarily”. Those cohorts refer to frontline workers and people who are at very high risk should they contract the virus.
“They (the centres) are not yet open for the larger population cohorts which will happen in the coming weeks as vaccine supply increases,” the spokesperson added.
“While a particular centre may not be open every day in the current phase of the programme, no centre will be closed,” the HSE said.
It’s understood that just over 100 people were vaccinated at the site on Monday of this week.
The centre is currently administering the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine.
There are roughly 20 staff working at the centre, a combination of workers redeployed from elsewhere within the HSE and agency staff from companies such as CPL Recruitment.
There are 40 pods at the centre, supported by staff from the Defence Forces.
WIT was among the first cohort of 37 mass vaccination centres announced in mid-February, with a billed capacity to vaccinate 40 people every 10 minutes once fully operational.