The HSE is reporting a ‘steady and manageable’ uptake of the swine flu vaccine in the Waterford area this week.
Fifty people availed of the free H1N1 vaccine at the HSE’s Dungarvan clinic on Monday and the health authority is expecting a consistent response throughout the week. Locally, however, it is understood that a number of GPs had to turn patients away from their surgeries on Monday and Tuesday, as supplies of the vaccine ran out. The HSE attributed the problem to a delay on the part of doctors in ordering the jabs, though GPs have complained that no negotiations took place with them prior to the roll-out of the vaccine.
Since Monday, those in the identified at-risk groups (which includes pregnant women and anyone aged over 6 months and under 65 years who has a long-term health condition) are being offered a vaccine through their GP or, if their GP is not participating, at one of the HSE vaccination clinics nationwide. The Waterford clinic is operating at the HSE Community Services building on the Cork Road on Thursday from 9am to 5pm and Friday from 9am to 1pm and at the new Community Day Hospital in Dungarvan on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, 9am to 5pm.
“Getting the vaccine not only ensures that the individual does not contract the virus but that the spread of the virus in the community decreases due to the ‘herd immunity’ effect – so we can all help to protect each other from the effects of this flu”, a HSE spokesperson said.
Meanwhile the HSE continues to promote its communication campaign “Swine Flu – It stops with you” in the media and online at in a bid to stop the spread of swine flu.
Leaflets and posters for the first at-risk groups are available at GP surgeries, pharmacies, Maternity and General Hospitals and Local Health Offices.  An information leaflet and poster specifically for pregnant women is also available .
Further information about the swine flu from the automated HSE Flu line 1800 94 11 00 or by texting FLU to 51444.