GPs in Ireland are asking patients aged 60-69 NOT to call them about appointments relating to the AstraZeneca vaccine.
Doctors nationwide say they are facing increased workloads due to the vaccine rollout, but stressed they are not involved in AstraZeneca vaccine appointments for the over 60s. People in this age category must book through the HSE portal, not through their GP practice.
More than 100,000 people aged 66 to 69 have registered online so far. The portal opens to those aged 65 today on vaccine.hse.ie
While some people in this age cohort have expressed concerns about AstraZeneca, GPs say they do not have spare vaccines available from other brands.
Please note your GP does NOT have spare Pfizer or Moderna vaccines they can give you if you are aged 60-69 and do not want to take AZ vaccine. Please respect that we need to followguidelines @gpbuddy @rosablackgp @griffinniamh @NiamhyCahill @Corks96FM @rtenews @NewstalkFM https://t.co/cNmm3HFlFw
— Nuala O Connor (@DrNuala) April 18, 2021
In a statement, the Irish College of General Practitioners (ICGP) issued a call for patients to be understanding as clinics deal with extra workload with the roll-out of Covid-19 vaccines.
Since January, most GP practices have been heavily involved in the COVID-19 vaccination rollout to the elderly, and to vulnerable patients with high-risk conditions.
Other patients have been told to expect longer delays in making appointments as a result.
Dr Diarmuid Quinlan, ICGP Medical Director, said: “We appreciate that there is a lot of anxiety about getting vaccines especially for those at high risk. Please understand GPs have no discretion in deciding who gets the vaccine and when. Please don’t pressurise your GP unduly.”
Dr Nuala O’Connor, the ICGP’s Clinical Lead on COVID-19 said: “The vaccination programme is very good news, as these are very effective vaccines for our patients and we understand how anxious people are to receive them. But this is a huge logistical exercise and we are dealing with uncertainty in supplies and in changes to guidelines on vaccines for different age groups.
“GPs are not involved in the AstraZeneca vaccine to the over 60’s and those in that age group are asked to go to the HSE portal and please not to phone their GP practice.”