THE HSE has announced the opening of the Mid-West Covid-19 Vaccination Centre in Ennis from Monday, April 26, marking a significant scaling up of the Covid-19 vaccination programme across the region.
The centre in the West County Hotel, will open on a phased basis, scaling up in line with availability of vaccines. Along with the centre at the Radisson Blu Limerick, and the Abbey Court Hotel in Nenagh, the facilities form a tripartite vaccination network to accelerate the delivery of Covid-19 vaccine in the Mid-West.
With work ongoing at the Radisson Blu Limerick to vaccinate the Group 4 cohort of patients at very high risk of serious illness from Covid-19, the opening of the Ennis centre coincides with the move to Group 5 (people aged 65 to 69 at high risk) and Group 6 (other people aged 65 to 69) in the Government’s list of Provisional Vaccine Allocation Groups.
UL Hospitals Group management gave the go-ahead for the phased opening of the centre following the announcement that the national online registration portal for the vaccine would go live from Thursday morning, for people aged 65 to 69.
Group 5 and Group 6 patients are asked to register on specific days, in order to assist with management of high demand on the portal over the coming week.
– People aged 69 on Thursday, April 15 (or any time after).
– People aged 68 on Friday, April 16 (or any time after)
– People aged 67 on Saturday, April 17 (or any time after)
– People aged 66 on Sunday, April 18 (or any time after)
– People aged 65 on Monday, April 19 (or any time after)
People can register online at https://vaccine.hse.ie/, and they will be asked for their mobile phone number, email address, PPS number and Eircode. Telephone registration is also available at HSELive on 1850-24-1850 for those unable to register online, and there are options for those who are deaf or hard of hearing. Once registered, people will receive their vaccination appointments from next week.
Appointments will be assigned by age. Vaccine will not be delivered any earlier to those who register prior to the days set out above. Anyone in the 65 to 69 age group who is unable to register before next Monday should be aware that the portal will remain open subsequently.
People in this age group will be vaccinated using Covid-19 Vaccine AstraZeneca, which has been approved for use by the European Medicines Agency (EMA) and the National Immunisation Advisory Committee (NIAC), in keeping with the strictest standards of safety and quality. It is recommended for use in people aged over 60 and licensed by regulators.
The HSE is encouraging all in the 65-69 patient cohort to register and attend for their vaccination appointment in order to enhance the effectiveness of the overall vaccination programme in minimising the transmission of the disease within our communities.
Dr Denis O’Keeffe, Consultant Haematologist at University Hospital Limerick, said the risk of falling seriously ill with COVID-19 was far greater than any risk that the AstraZeneca vaccine might present to those in the 65 to 69 age group. “The evidence would suggest that the clotting incidences reported are an extremely rare complication. For patients in this age group, the risk from Covid-19 and the risk of clotting when you get sick with the disease, is significantly higher than the risk of clotting reported as associated with the AstraZeneca vaccine.”
In relation to the approximately 800 people from the Group 4 cohort aged under 60, whose vaccinations were cancelled this week, we await further national guidance on alternative appointments.
A significant amount of work has been undertaken by UL Hospitals Group, HSE Mid-West Community Healthcare and HSE Estates to ensure the Mid-West Vaccination Centres at the Radisson Blu Limerick, the West County Ennis, and the Abbey Court Nenagh, are ready to provide a safe and efficient vaccination process for the public.
HSE Estates has overseen significant contracting work on the extensive fit-out works required to reconfigure all three venues. The maximum booth capacities for the three centres are 31 in the Radisson Blu Hotel, 20 in the West County Hotel, and 15 in the Abbey Court Hotel.
Capacity and the rate of vaccination at the centres will be determined based on the availability of the vaccines. When all three facilities are operating at maximum capacity, our vaccinator teams will be able to deliver a collective total of up to 6,000 doses of vaccine per day.
The centres will be staffed by multidisciplinary vaccination teams, including doctors, nurses & midwives, pharmacists, physiotherapists, paramedics, advanced paramedics & emergency medical technicians, optometrists, registered dentists, and other registered healthcare workers, working on a full-time, part-time or flexible-hours basis.
An extremely positive response from staff within the region’s hospital sites and local community healthcare services, allied with the effectiveness of the national recruitment campaign, has ensured that the centres are in readiness for the acceleration of the programme.
Prof Paul Burke, UL Hospitals Group’s Chief Academic Officer and Group Lead for the Mid-West Vaccination Centres, said, “We’re delighted to be in a position to accelerate the vaccination programme to our communities here in the Mid-West by opening our area vaccination centres in Ennis and Nenagh. Staff at UL Hospitals Group and HSE Mid-West Community Healthcare have made huge efforts over the past three months to vaccinate the most vulnerable members of our population and frontline workers. The success of the campaign to date gives us great optimism in moving forward with the programme, and we encourage everyone to register for vaccination and play their part in this most vital and decisive phase of our battle against Covid-19.”