THE roll out of the Covid-19 vaccination programme has continued with a number of pop-up vaccination clinics at our universities and colleges – including St Mary's on the Falls Road – to coincide with freshers week.

This comes as the latest figures published by the Department of Health showed that of those in ICU wards with Covid, 72 per cent are totally unvaccinated, having not a single dose of vaccine. Eight per cent have had one dose and 20 per cent have had two doses.

Totally unvaccinated people make up less than 12 per cent of our adult population – yet account for 72 per cent of people in ICU.

Taking time away from administering the vaccines at St Mary’s University College the week, local pharmacist Orla McAreavey encouraged anyone who is hesitant about taking the jab to speak to a health professional. 

“Speak to someone that you trust, be that a pharmacist, your GP or a nurse and discuss it with them. Have a think about why you don’t want the vaccine and we can give you reasons as to why we think it is a good idea.

“Have a look at the statistics. Over 70 per cent of those in ICU at the moment are unvaccinated. That speaks for itself.

“We are non-judgemental and our door is always open. If you pop into your local pharmacy we will be more than happy to talk you through it.”

Orla said that the main concerns that she is hearing are around side effects and people feeling like they are being mandated to have the vaccine. 

“I don’t think anyone would want you to feel like you are being made to have a vaccine” she continued. 

“From what we can see so far, yes there is an extremely rare side effect with Astra Zeneca but that vaccine has now been shifted to the over 40s and the student aged population are being recommended to take the Moderna vaccine which is safe.

“We are also seeing a lot of people getting their information from the likes of Facebook and Instagram instead of people they trust. If you were sick you would go and see your doctor, your pharmacist or a nurse and this should be no different. If you have concerns then we are here to listen and provide you with the facts.”