McAleer calls for more vaccination clinics in rural areas

West Tyrone MLA Declan McAleer has called on the Department of Health and Health Trusts to engage with local community groups to roll out a programme of evening vaccination clinics, particularly in rural areas.

McAleer said: “Following the standing down of the regional vaccination centres for first doses I made contact with the Health Minister to propose that his department and the trusts rapidly engage with local communities and put in place more evening walk-in clinics for vaccinations.

“A number of these have already taken place locally in Carrickmore and Dromore and they have been a great success, especially for attracting younger people.

I have been volunteering in the Omagh vaccination centre since January and have also engaged extensively with people who told me they found it challenging to get off work to travel to one of these centres, which are located in towns and cities.

“This is made more difficult for isolated rural areas where there is minimal public transport and where the person does not have access to a car.

“In my correspondence to Minister Swann, I stated that there are multiple community halls dotted all over the country from Young Farmers Clubs to GAA halls and his department should engage with these groups to bring evening clinics right into local communities.

“I strongly believe this would be extremely effective in increasing the vaccination rates among hard to reach cohorts of the population, especially in rural areas.”