Foyle Arena in Derry to reopen as COVID booster vaccine op ramps up

Derry’s Foyle Arena is to reopen tomorrow (Wednesday, December 15) as a mass vaccine centre as the Western Trust ramps up its roll out of boosters due to growing concern over the Omricon variant.

While GPs and pharmacists are continuing to take bookings and deliver vaccines, the COVID vaccine centre at Foyle Arena will be opening for walk-ins and bookings from 9am to 8pm Monday to Saturday and 9 to 5pm on Sundays. Bookings will open tomorrow, December 15.

Everyone aged 30 and over who has received your second dose more than 12 weeks ago, is now eligible for a COVID-19 booster.

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If you are aged 12 or over and still need to get your COVID-19 vaccine first dose, you can also attend Foyle Arena.

The Mayor of Derry City and Strabane District Council, Alderman Graham Warke pictured during a previous visit to the Covid Centre at the Foyle Arena with at front are Alana Caldwell, Ballymoney, Terri-Lee McDaid and Daniel Doherty, Derry, young people who received their vaccination. At back from left are Garrett Martin, Senior Nurse and Lead, Western Trust, Ryan McNutt, Support Services and Cara McLaughlin, Senior Manager, HR, Western Trust. (Photos: Jim McCafferty Photography)

The Covid booster operation at Templemore Sports Complex in the cityside is operating today but will close after this. The plan had been to move the booster operation to An Chro Mor in the Waterside from tomorrow but it is understood that this has now been switched to Foyle Arena due to the latter having greater capacity.

People will be encouraged to use the booking system tomorrow as the number of walk-ins that can be accommodation will be limited. Keep an eye on the Western Trust website tomorrow for updates on booking info: westerntrust.hscni.net/western-trust-covid-19-information-updates/covid-19-vaccination-programme/Alternatively to book at a local chemist / pharmacy for first, second or booster vaccines check out participating pharmacies at www.healthandcareni.net/pharmacy_rota/Covid_Moderna_Vaccination_Pharmacies.htmlAfter the Chief Medical Officers agreed that the COVID-19 Booster Programme should be accelerated to help deal with the Omicron Variant, the Western Trust has issued an appeal to staff to help in the escalated operation as vaccinators.

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“We are once again asking for your help and are calling all those staff who previously worked in our vaccination programme back to assist over the next 3 weeks. This includes Vaccinators, Administrators and Support Services staff,” the Trust stated in a post.

“Our Chief Executive and Corporate Management Team have agreed that staff will be released back to support the vaccine programme, unless there are exceptional circumstances.

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JANUARY 2021: Brian Tierney, then Mayor of Derry City and Strabane District Council, visited the Covid -19 vaccination centre in the Foyle Arena where he met Western Health and Social Care Trust staff who were delivering the vaccine programme. Included were Dr. Alan McKinney who is one of the retired doctors to help during the pandemic, Anne McConnell, HR Director WHSCT and School nurse Geraldine Mulholland. Picture Martin McKeown. 28.01.21

“We appreciate how important leave is and we will try to protect any leave already booked, but would appreciate any flexibility that staff may be able to give.

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“If this applies to you, can you please complete the form on Staff West and send to [email protected]

SDLP Councillor Brian Tierney has encouraged people across Derry to get their Covid-19 booster vaccine.

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Councillor Tierney said: “I would encourage everyone whose eligible to get their Covid-19 booster vaccine as soon as possible to protect themselves and those around them. With the renewed threat the Omicron variant is posing to our society we need to do everything we can to increase our defences to the virus. I would also urge anyone yet to receive their first and second doses to take this opportunity to get vaccinated.

“There will be a number of places throughout the Western Trust area where people can get their booster vaccine, including the Foyle Arena and Omagh Leisure Complex from Wednesday. Booster vaccinations can also be provided by your GP and local community pharmacy. People are being encouraged to book their appointment from Wednesday, but limited walk-ins will also be available.

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“Following the current Covid-19 guidelines, including getting vaccinated, using Covid certification, practicing social distancing and washing our hands is the most effective way of keeping each other safe and preventing the need for further restrictions. Nobody wants to see another lockdown, particularly so close to Christmas and we all need to pull together, get vaccinated and help each other through this difficult period.”

For further information