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Sarah Ryan with family members at her 97th birthday, prior to the pandemic

Clare woman, 98, finally gets vaccine as she welcomes new great-great grand-daughter


SARAH Ryan’s great-great-grandchild River was born in London this Monday on the same day that the Clare woman finally got vaccinated against Covid-19, writes Dan Danaher.

Sarah, who lives in Emelagh near Quilty, has 13 children, 34 grandchildren, 33 great grandchildren and three great-great grandchildren.

The great-great-grandmother was left in despair in recent weeks amid concerns she was being left behind in the national vaccination programme.

Her grandson, Declan Wilkes, (37) recently went public to highlight the family’s growing frustration over the delay.

“Thank god the day has finally arrived. She’s uplifted, it’s completely transformed her mood – the thought that no one cared and of being left behind was so upsetting to see.

“We’re relieved beyond belief; it’s been an emotional few days since Sarah’s story came out. It’s resonated with a lot of families out there still waiting.

“It’s also brought great comfort to my mother, Rita, who as her carer, has lived with the fear every day for a year of putting Sarah in danger. We’re that bit closer to being together again.

“I don’t want to be cynical and say it’s as a direct result of speaking out but I wonder how long we’d have had to wait or if she’d have made it at all if we hadn’t.

“In three months, it was first call we’ve had from any authority, despite all the chasing. We’re thankful but who wouldn’t be bitter at how she and many other vulnerable people have been treated.

“They will have to step up big time on the housebound, at 14 a day out of 1,500 it’ll be August until some are fully protected. It’s all far too casual.

“Like the rest of the country, we’ve been angry at the carry on with Beacon and the unfairness and brazenness of it all. That it’s ‘who you know’ – we’re told that’s the old Ireland of brown envelopes and ‘promised’ houses, but like this virus we’re sure not rid of it yet”,” he stated.

As of close of business on Sunday March 28, the UL Hospitals’ Group Covid-19 vaccination teams have delivered a total of 20,045 first doses and 5,291 second doses.

Vaccination teams have delivered the Covid-19 vaccine to frontline healthcare workers in UL Hospitals’ Group, HSE Mid-West Community Healthcare, the National Ambulance Service, and staff and patients of long-term residential care settings in the Mid-West.

Having reached the final stages of frontline healthcare workers, vaccination teams are now also, in line with Government guidance on prioritisation, vaccinating patients at very high risk of serious illness in cohort four.

As of 1pm on Tuesday March 30th, a total of 2,364 patients in the Group 4 cohort had been vaccinated by UL Hospitals Group vaccination teams.

Teams are vaccinating anyone aged 70 and older who is an inpatient in our hospitals. This supports the ongoing programme to vaccinate people aged 70 and older living in the community, to ensure that anyone in that group will not miss their vaccination appointment due to a stay in hospital.

The National Ambulance Service (NAS) has been tasked with vaccinating housebound patients as identified by their GP. Communication has been issued to GP surgeries on how this process of referral works.

The NAS home vaccination team are currently working in the Mid-West area and to date have completed 55 first dose home vaccinations.

The group is looking forward to opening the Mid-West Vaccination Centres in Ennis and Nenagh in the coming weeks.

At close of business on Sunday March 28, a total of 8,114 vaccinations had been delivered at the Meelick centre in the Radisson Blu Hotel, mostly to frontline healthcare workers and also group four patients.

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