No Booster in Sight…

Data from the last few days provide just a hint that the recent increase in Covid-19 infection in Ireland may be slowing down:

Even if this is the case, though, the level of Coronavirus in circulation is very high, much higher than it was this time last year ahead of the Christmas surge and this year there’s the apparently much more transmissible omicron variant to throw into the mix.

I saw a letter in the Irish Times earlier this week pointing out that Universities in Ireland have worked very hard to stay open throughout the recent wave. Third level institutions have been told by Government so stay open despite a wider exhortation to “work from home wherever possible”. Well, most of us have been working from home doing online lectures for most of the past 18 months so we know that is “possible” – and indeed large classes containing over 250 students are still being taught that way – yet we’re now being told that it is essential that we continue teaching smaller classes in person.

I have enjoyed teaching on campus again, despite the hassle of having to improvise a method of recording the blackboard on video. I also believe that the situation is fairly safe, what with well ventilated classrooms, all students wearing face coverings, and everyone vaccinated…

But there’s the rub.

Next Wednesday will be six months since my second dose of Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine so I am concerned that my protection is on the wane. Next week I will be due a booster. Unfortunately the Irish Government is making a complete hash of the booster campaign which, as a result, is running way behind many countries, including the UK. Two elderly neighbours of mine in Maynooth had to queue for three hours in the freezing cold at Citiwest for their boosters, only to be told to come back another day as they weren’t ready. I know others in the 60-69 age group who haven’t even got an appointment yet. I am a bright young thing of 58 so I am quite a way back in queue. Although I’m due my booster by next Wednesday I won’t be surprised if I have to wait until after Christmas.

Update: the rollout of boosters to those in the 50-59 age group is supposed to begin in ‘mid-December’.

I’ve said so before on this blog that unless I get my booster before 8th December, I will be switching all my teaching online and working from home and I’ll continue doing that until I am fully protected, however long that takes. It’s not so much that I am afraid of being infected on campus, just that the situation is quite unreasonable and I’m taking a stand on point of principle. As the correspondent in the Irish Times points out, University staff have been taken completely for granted during the pandemic.

P.S. If the Government regards a lecturer’s work as “essential” then they should treat us as frontline staff and prioritize our booster shots. They were keen to set up campus vaccination centres for students so why not do the same for staff?

3 Responses to “No Booster in Sight…”

  1. Are the boosters being delivered via vaccination centres, GP surgeries, or both? I got my booster via my GP surgery, although the original 2 vaccinations were via the centres. You might consider contacting your surgery and ask if they are doing the booster shots and if so when you might be eligible.

    • telescoper Says:

      They are doing over 70s and people with underlying conditions through GPs, and the rest through vaccination centres (and possibly pharmacies, though I’ve never seen any done that way in Maynooth). I have been told that I just have to wait and I’ll get mine at City West vaccination centre where I got my first and second dose.

  2. […] I have explained before on this blog that I am going to be working from home next week, delivering my last lectures from my study and via recordings. I only have one full lecture to give in my first-year module (due tomorrow); the other two will be revision classes. I have finished the lectures for my second-year module so was just planning to do a revision class in the Tuesday slot. I did have some other (virtual) meetings in my calendar for next week but most of these have all been cancelled for one reason or another. […]

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