‘Big Jab Weekend’ in Derry : Final walk in clinics at Foyle Arena this weekend for all adults
Northern Ireland’s Chief Medical Officer has urged young people not to miss out on COVID-19 vaccination as Foyle Arena is prepared for the final mass vaccination walk-in clinics this weekend.
Professor Sir Michael McBride welcomed the “Big Jab Weekend” initiative at Foyle Arena and the other vaccination hubs to improve vaccine take-up.
It will see the mass vaccination centres once again offering vaccine first doses to all eligible age groups – for two days only this Saturday and Sunday (August 21 and 22).
At Foyle Arena the vacines will be available from 9am to 7pm on both days and this will be the first time the centres reopen since the end of July to administer first doses of the Pfizer vaccine to all adult age groups on a walk in basis in a final push to see as many people within our population vaccinated as possible.
That’s on top of ongoing vaccinations at walk-in pop-up clinics across Northern Ireland, and at participating community pharmacies.
The Western Trust is set to wind down its three Mass Vaccination Centres, located at Foyle Arena, Omagh Leisure Centre and the Lakeland Forum, Enniskillen after nine months of intensive activity.
The Big Jab Weekend will be the last chance for anyone aged 18 and over to get their first jab at a mass vaccination centre in Northern Ireland.
Commenting on plans to reopen the Mass Vaccination Centres as part of the “Big Jab Weekend”, Western Trust Director Performance & Service Improvement, Teresa Molloy, said: “To date the Western Trust has led an incredibly successful local Vaccination Programme with 85% of our population in the Western Trust area receiving their first vaccine to date, delivered through a variety of means, but primarily via the operation of our three Mass Vaccination Centres.
“Only a few short weeks ago the Trust ceased first vaccines at the Vaccination Centres and on that weekend of 30-31 July there was a fantastic turnout with a high number of people attending to receive their first vaccine - more than 1800 people attending in one day!
“Due to the high numbers we facilitated that day we felt that we should provide our population with one last opportunity to receive their first doses and that the ‘Big Jab’ weekend (21-22 August) is the perfect way to do this.
“We want to offer people as many opportunities as possible to get the jab. There is still demand for vaccination – the take-up at walk-in clinics demonstrates that.
“No appointment will be needed at the vaccination centres this weekend or at the ongoing walk-in clinics – just turn up and get your jab at a time that suits you. It couldn’t be easier.
“We would stress that the focus of this event is to facilitate first doses, there are people who have already booked in to get their second dose and these should go ahead and attend but we would ask that individuals do not make any further bookings in order to leave capacity for people to walk in for first doses.
“Vaccination is saving lives. When we get jabbed, we are protecting ourselves, protecting others and protecting the health service. It is the single biggest contribution people can make to getting normality back. It helps opens doors to nights out, travel, music and sports events and to so many other things we have missed so much in the last 18 months.”
To find out about up to date information, including slot availability, opening times and information about our Mobile other Pop-Up Clinics you can visit the Trust Vaccination Webpage: westerntrust.hscni.net/western-trust-covid-19-information-updates/covid-19-vaccination-programme/
If you are planning to attend Foyle Arena, Pop Up or Mobile Vaccination Clinics, please do not do so if you:
Are currently unwell with a high temperature or fever
Have had a first positive test for COVID-19 in the last 28 Days
You have been advised to self-isolate
Anyone attending a walk in clinic is reminded to wear a face covering (unless exempt for medical reasons), adhere to social distancing rules and bring along their Health and Care Number (HCN) and ID if possible.
The Chief Medical Officer said: “Young people have made huge sacrifices in this pandemic. Vaccination is their passport back to normality. It helps protect them and the people they care about. It also will be vital to helping our health service cope in the coming months.
“Please don’t miss out on all the benefits that come with getting the jab. You do not want to get this virus. You do not want to pass it to someone else. And you do not want long COVID, with all the health complication that involves.
“I am not interesting in lecturing or berating young people on vaccination. It is their decision. But I would ask them to make an informed decision, based on information from trusted sources.”
The ‘Big Jab Weekend’ this Saturday and Sunday will be the last chance for anyone aged 18 and over to get their first jab at a mass vaccination centre.
There will be ongoing initiatives, including further mobile clinics. However, opportunities will inevitably become more limited, as the focus of the vaccination programme switches to booster jabs.