The Helix opens as Covid-19 vaccination hub

Aoibhín Meghen

The Helix venue opened as a Covid-19 vaccination hub and began vaccinating over-70s on Wednesday February 10th.

The multi-purpose venue, located on DCU’s Glasnevin Campus, has been transformed with approximately 50 vaccination bays all located in the Mahony Hall within The Helix.

This vaccination hub will be one of approximately 40 that the HSE intends to establish across the country in order to improve the vaccine rollout.

According to the General Manager of The Helix, Micheal Brady, it is expected the number of vaccinations being administered per week in the venue will eventually reach 35,000.

“Currently the number of vaccinations per day is quite low, in the region of 300-400 as the process gets bedded in,” said Brady. 

“However, in full tilt the HSE have confirmed that the Helix vaccination hub has the capacity to vaccinate approx 500 per hour which would equate to 35,000 per week when in full flow”

Currently the venue is being used to vaccinate people over 70 who’s GP has less than 200 patients in that age bracket but The Helix will continue to be used in the mass vaccination roll out in the coming months according to Brady.

The sports halls on the DCU’s St Patrick’s campus were originally considered for the vaccination hub according to DCU’s Chief Operating Officer, Declan Raftery.

“[The HSE] came back and said it wasn’t big enough, they need something at a larger scale, twice that size to take effectively a 50 bay vaccination centre,” said Raftery.

The vaccination hub will not interfere with other events due to take place in The Helix according to Brady as these have all been pushed to the fourth quarter of 2021 and beyond.

“It would be our assumption that the HSE would no longer be using the venue as a vaccination hub at that point in time,” said Brady.

According to Raftery, the hub will be in place until at least September first, at which point this may be revisited.

“As we get closer to September 1st we’ll all know where we are. We’ll know where we are academically wise with what we’ll be doing on campus and they’ll know where they are in terms of the vaccination programme,” he said.

Raftery also said that the vaccination hub will have “minimal if any impact on campus operations as they currently are” as footfall on campus will remain limited for the rest of the semester and into the summer.

“Before we commissioned the hub at the Helix we had already made the decision as to what the rest of the semester would look like,” said Raftery.

“This semester isn’t going to change very much. Even if the restrictions loosen even slightly, which they may but only so slightly, we had given a clear message to students and staff for the rest of the semester we will continue as is.”

The Helix was chosen by the HSE to be used as a vaccination hub due to its proximity to the M50, Dublin Bus routes and its “functional space and size” said Brady. 

As a theatre the Mahony Hall can seat just over 1,000 people and can host 60 exhibition stands.

DCU also has a pre-existing Covid-19 relationship with the HSE through a Covid-19 Assessment Hub located on the Glasnevin campus.

The assessment hub was set-up in DCU’s Healthy Living Centre in April 2020 and people with Covid-19 symptoms can go there to be assessed to see if they need further medical treatment. 

Aoibhín Meghen

Image Credit: Aoibhín Meghen

Note: This article was reuploaded on 26/03/21 due to a fault with The College View website.