People who turned up at Citywest in Dublin on Sunday morning for walk-in Covid booster shots had to wait for two hours or longer, but all who spoke to The Irish Times were delighted that the service was being made available.
The vaccination centre opened for business at 8.30 am but some people who wanted the jab began turning up well before that, leading to lengthy traffic jams and a long queue for the earlier part of the morning.
Initially scheduled to close at 12.30 pm, the HSE announced on its website at around 11.30 that the centre was closing for new arrivals seeking the booster.
Darren Smith (43) was among those waiting in line at approximately 11.20 am, having arrived by car at Citywest almost three hours earlier.
“We’re due to fly to England on Thursday, so I wanted to get my booster before we went, if we are going,” he said.
From England, Darren is hoping to travel with his partner and their two children, to see his parents in Reading. It is to be his first time home in two years and he is keeping a close eye on changes to the travel restrictions.
“I’m excited, glad to get it,” said Judith Godson (49). She decided to go for a booster as soon as she heard the news on Saturday that the drop-in service was to be available for those over 40 years of age.
“I feel very privileged to be able to get it, to be honest. In other countries they are not so fortunate. I think we are very blessed here that we can get it, it’s free, and it’s widely available.”
In the circumstances, she said, she had no complaint about having to queue.
A primary school teacher at St Pius X, Terenure, she said the school is “managing great”, though it can be cold with the windows open.
Alan Cooper (44), from Celbridge, turned up at Citywest at 9.15 am and was nearing the head of the queue at 11.15 am.
“I just wanted to get it out of the way so Christmas would be okay,” he said. “And my wife has immunity issues, and I wanted to get that all done.”
He had “no problem” with queuing. He expects the situation with Covid to get worse over the coming weeks “but we just have to go through it, and we will get there in the end.
“I don’t think it’s anybody’s fault. The authorities, I think, they have got their hands tied. I think they are doing the best job they can. I think they are doing good, compared to a lot of other countries.”
Suzanne McCormack (50) was glad to be at Citywest and anxious to get her booster “especially after last night’s numbers. Hopefully if people are vaccinated and boosted, that will mitigate what is happening.”
Marian Coll is in the fifty plus cohort but had not been given an appointment up to now, even though her brother had already received his booster and her brother’s wife, who is in the forty plus cohort, had an appointment. “I am kind of raging I never got one,” she said.
She left her home in Drimnagh, Dublin, at about 8.30 am, she said, parked in Saggart, and walked to Citywest. A friend who was going to meet up with her at Citywest turned back when she saw the early morning traffic.
“I don’t mind queuing if I know I’m going to get the booster,” she said.
One of those who spoke to The Irish Times after receiving her booster was Janet Neville Thomas, who is currently in receipt of medical care for cancer.
“Because of when I was diagnosed, I slipped through the system in terms of getting an appointment,” she said.
She started queuing on the N7 at 9.30 and arrived in the Citywest car park about an hour later. However she didn’t have to queue once she had arrived at the centre, as she had an appointment for her jab.
“The staff,” she said, “are fantastic.” She was “relieved and delighted.”
Kri Bajaro (30) is a healthcare worker who received her offer of a booster in October, but had not been in a position to take it up until now.
She was, she said, “reluctant” about the Covid vaccines because they are so new, but has since been impressed by how they positively affect the severity of the illness for those who catch Covid.
She was back in the Philippines last month to see her family, for the first time in two years, and had to spend some of her time there in quarantine.
Tallaght Hospital, where she works, had a lot of people out sick at one stage, but “at the moment it’s okay; in our area, it’s okay.”