With the rise of the Omicron variant, the health service has stressed the importance of getting your booster jab to ensure your protection.
That is why the GP surgeries in Armagh (Abbey Court Surgery, The Archway Surgery and The Friary Surgery) have jumped at the chance to offer the booster to their patients.
The government have mandated the need to accelerate the roll-out and the city’s practices have responded by opening two afternoons next week for walk-in jabs.
Speaking to Armagh I, Dr Frances O’Hagan, of the Friary Surgery, stated: “You are better having a sore arm than Omicron over Christmas.”
Dr O’Hagan, who is deputy chair of the BMA’s NI Committee of GPs, has reported that the uptake in the over 50s has been “amazing” with 90% having received their booster.
She championed the work of GPs who have administered around 1.3million jabs due to their adaptability.
“The Trust are not able to get enough vaccinators in their large centres. We are able to turn our phones to emergency only and each surgery can do around 1,000 boosters in an afternoon.
“With the GPs, we will also be much quicker. The 15 minute wait being removed is a big step but with us we know our registered patients and do not have to spend time ensuring their identity.”
Dr O’Hagan commented that those coming to get their booster can be in and out in just five minutes.
All patients over the age of 18 who are registered with one of the three surgeries and had their second vaccine on or before September 21 are eligible for their booster.
The three surgeries will be open on Tuesday, December 21, between 1.30pm and 5.30pm for walk-in booster jabs.
There will be a second vaccine booster clinic on Thursday, December 23 from 1.30pm-5.30pm in Abbey Court and Friary Surgeries only.
Dr O’Hagan stated: “We ask that people attend on foot as parking will be very limited and prioritised for those with disabilities. If you have arranged a time or date to get your vaccine please keep these arrangements.”
To facilitate this clinic the three surgeries will only be offering assessment of urgent medical problems on these dates with an emergency only service after 12pm.
“We know that this is a busy time but we strongly encourage people to prioritise their booster”, Dr O’Hagan said. “The emerging evidence is that the immunity from the first and second doses of the vaccines is waning from about three months.
“Two weeks after a booster dose there will be significant protection against serious COVID disease including from the Omicron variant. “