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Pharmacists in Clare expect people within the county will ‘shop around’ for vaccines as they admitted to being “snowed under”.

Selected pharmacies across the county on Monday began administering single shot vaccines to 18–34-year-olds, in a bid to scale up the vaccination programme in the race against the Delta variant.

The update was made public by Minister for Health Stephen Donnelley TD (FF) on Friday last, after advice was issued from the National Immunisation Advisory Committee (NIAC) regarding the possible use of adenoviral vector vaccines for those aged under 50 years of age. This accelerated vaccine opportunity comes in the form of Janssen for 18-34-year-olds and is available in over 700 pharmacies nationwide.

O’Meara’s Totalhealth Pharmacy, Market Square, Scarriff are one of 18 participating pharmacies within Clare. Pharmacist Harry O’Meara stressed the importance of getting as many adults vaccinated as possible in response to rising cases of the Delta variant. He outlined that fresh batches will be delivered every two weeks from the HSE. Trained pharmacists are delivering the vaccines in store matching supply to demand.

Pharmacies across the country cited the concern of matching this demand, as phones rang off the hook on Friday morning following the announcement. Varden’s Pharmacy in Newmarket-On-Fergus admitted that they were “snowed under” and “taken a bit by surprise” as they didn’t have any advanced warning from the Government or HSE. Staff worked tirelessly to create lists of callers that would match them with a vaccine in the next week.

“Every case is different. Everyone has to check what medicines or vaccines they can take. We will do a risk assessment of people, particularly this age group that are more concerned. Then we must get their consent, which is a big issue,” supervising pharmacist Tom Taffe stated.

He conceded that although they have a starter supply, like many, they are not fully equipped to meet “the current demand that has been presented to us this afternoon and this morning.” He added that people will shop around for a vaccine in different pharmacies, with those having a bigger supply concerned with a wastage issue, particularly with the current supply “that has an expiry date in September”.

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