MORE than 17,000 first doses of vaccines against Covid-19 have been delivered by vaccinators in the Mid-West, according to official figures.
The UL Hospitals’ Group vaccination programme resumed administering the AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine at the Mid-West Vaccination Centre in the Radisson Blu on Sunday, March 21.
Up to close of business on Sunday March 21st, ovaccinators had delivered a total of 17,167 first doses, and 5,248 second doses of Covid-19 vaccine.
The group’s Vaccination Programme has been rolled out to healthcare workers across the Mid-West, including staff from the group, HSE Mid-West Community Healthcare, the National Ambulance Service, and staff and residents of some nursing home facilities.
It has also included patients at very high risk of illness associated with Covid-19, of whom some 699 received their Dose 1 vaccinations on Sunday.
Colette Cowan, Chief Executive Officer, UL Hospitals’ Group, said staff are privileged to be part of this mass vaccination programme and noted it is a great boost to morale to accelerate the delivery of the vaccine to those members of the community most vulnerable to Covid infection.
“The sense of relief in the Radisson vaccination centre is palpable and we look forward to opening the Ennis and Nenagh centres as recruitment continues and the vaccine supply increases in the coming weeks. The early evidence around reduced transmission of Covid-19 in care home residents and healthcare workers gives us further encouragement in the efficacy of the vaccines and a renewed sense of hope.”
Meanwhile, it has emerged than 400 people could be vaccinated against Covid-19 in a North Clare general practice, if there was a proper supply of vaccine.
With a team of six administering the vaccine in Dr Michael Kelleher’s Lahinch practice, it has been confirmed that a few hundred patients could be vaccinated on a Saturday once general surgery was suspended.
In an interview with the Clare Champion, Dr Kelleher outlined 350 vaccines have been administered to date including a second dose for the over 85s.
Dr Kelleher acknowledged a shortfall in vaccine supply over the last two weeks limited vaccination for the 75 to 79 cohort.
His practice received enough vaccines to give the jab to the 77 to the 79 age group. It is hoped this shortfall will be made up in the next delivery.
The vaccination of those aged 85 and over has been completed, the first group over 80 have been vaccinated and those 77 to 79.
Practices with a relatively small cohort of patients are being supplied with the Moderna vaccine, which have a longer fridge life.
Larger practices are being supplied with the Pfizer vaccine, which only has a shelf life of five days from the time it leaves cold storage in Dublin.
He acknowledged the only thing restricting the vaccination roll out is supply, not capacity or capability.
While vaccination has involved additional work, he said his office staff have done a tremendous job ensuring it was delivered smoothly.
“The take up is 100%. I have had no vaccine refusals. One or two couldn’t attend on a particular day but returned two weeks later.
“The vast majority of family doctors are eager to be involved in a national effort to combat a virus that poses a huge threat to our population and nation.
“I think general practitioners are well placed to identify vulnerable young people in the population who should be vaccinated.
“If the country was flooded with vaccines, we could vaccinate a huge number of people in a vary short space of time.”