Mayor Graham Warke and local health figures yesterday praised the swiftly organised re-opening of the COVID vaccine hub and the huge response from the public to date.
Alongside pharmacists and GP surgeries, health care staff at Foyle Arena and previously at Templemore have already administered boosters to thousands of local people.
It was also confirmed last night that from Monday, the booster roll out will be expanded to include all adults aged 18 and over.
Speaking after he received his booster jab, Mayor Warke said: “This is a rapidly changing situation and I am extremely impressed at how these measures have been so quickly put in place. I want to acknowledge the work of the Western Trust staff who are doing such an amazing job in very challenging circumstances. I also want to thank all the staff at the Foyle Arena, and previously at Templemore, who are playing a vital role in this effort.
“The Trust are aiming to vaccinate 1,000 people a day at the Foyle Arena and I would appeal to everyone attending to please follow the advice of the professionals and let’s do all we can to get as many people as possible protected in the weeks ahead.”
Meanwhile, Derry GP Tom Black says the next few weeks are “critical” as he urged people to “really consider what they can do over the next few days to slow the spread of this new variant”.
As of last night, 151 cases of the Omicron variant had been confirmed in the north.
The Foyle Arena is open to walk-ins and bookings from 9am to 8pm, Monday to Saturday, and 9am to 5pm on Sundays.
Health Minister Robin Swann this week said a ‘Herculean’ effort has gone in to expand the booster programme: “Our health system is under immense and relentless pressure,” he said.
“What is being asked of it now in terms of booster delivery is beyond anything asked of our health service in its entire history. That reflects the emergency situation we are facing with the expected surge in COVID-19 cases in January as a result of the Omicron variant.”
The Western Trust this week issued an appeal to staff to help in the escalated operation as vaccinators. People are being encouraged to use the booking system as the number of walk-ins will be limited.