Maternity unit in jabathon initiative

Maternity unit in jabathon initiative

15 September 2021

THE midwife-led maternity unit at the Downe Hospital will be used as a pop-up coronavirus vaccination clinic next week.

The South Eastern Trust said the facility will be available next Friday, September 24, between 11.30am and 3.30pm and again eight weeks later for second dose vaccines.

Health officials have confirmed that the clinic has been set up to administer the Pfizer vaccine to women who are currently receiving antenatal or postnatal care. Birthing partners and friends and family of these women who are over 16 are also welcome to attend. Booking an appointment is not required.

Those attending for vaccination must bring photographic ID or proof of address and where possible a health and care number.

Health officials say they are encouraging people to attend this pop-up clinic for vaccination to help reduce the spread of Covid-19.

News of the pop-up clinic comes after confirmation that a similar facility will be offering coronavirus jabs at the South Eastern Regional College’s Downpatrick campus on Thursday, September 30. No times have yet been confirmed.

The clinic is one of a number being rolled out at further education colleges across Northern Ireland as part of a major “jabathon initiative” in a further push to encourage young people to get protected against Covid-19.

Working in partnership with the Public Health Agency and local health trusts, further education college leaders are encouraging students who have yet to receive the vaccine to do so at one of the vaccine clinics on campus.

As part of the initiative, 60 pop-up clinics will open across 30 further education and university campus sites across Northern Ireland as part of the latest step in the vaccine push for those aged between 16 and 29.

Stormont Health minister Robin Swann — who yesterday confirmed that young people aged 12 to 15 are to be offered a first dose of a Covid-19 jab shortly — said it will help protect young people from catching the virus.

The children will be offered one dose of the Pfizer/BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine with parental consent sought prior to vaccination, while those who are part of an “at risk” group will receive two doses, eight weeks apart, in line with advice from the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI).

Mr Swann is also supportive of the major push to vaccinate more students in Northern Ireland with the programme of localised walk-in mobile clinics for everyone aged 16 and over.

“This programme covers high footfall locations, such as town centres and shopping centres. It also includes areas where accessibility issues and other barriers may have impacted on take-up,” he said.

“I very much welcome the Jabathon initiative and thank all those across the health and further and higher education sectors for their work in making this happen.

“A growing number of young people have been coming forward to get their jab and I am sure this extensive programme of targeted walk-in clinics will further increase take-up.”

Mr Swann emphasised that by getting vaccinated, students will be playing a vital part in getting normality back – reducing the threat of disruption to their education and all aspects of student life.”

He also paid tribute to the contribution of the mass vaccination clinics, which have been operated by health trusts and have had a central role in Northern Ireland’s vaccination programme since they opened last December.

Mr Swann added: “I want to thank everyone involved in these centres for their tireless work and inspirational commitment. They should certainly take pride in what has been achieved. 

“Of course, we have more work still to do to further increase take-up and I am very pleased that the number of participating pharmacies is going to be increased significantly.”

Meanwhile the operating hours of the coronavirus test facility at Dunleath Park in Downpatrick have been extended from 8am to 8pm to help cope with increased demand.