PATIENTS who were cocooning for more than a year have been given a new “lease of life” after receiving a vaccine against Covid-19. That’s according to Patricia O’Gorman, who was redeployed to be the clinical lead for the Mid-West Vaccination Centres at Treacy’s West County, the Radisson Blu Hotel, Meelick, and the Abbey Court Hotel, Nenagh, since March 1.
The Ennis Hospital director of nursing has seen some patients cheering after they are vaccinated and has witnessed a sense of joy in their overall demeanour.
“Vaccination is the start of a bright summer and an autumn of hope, particularly for people who want to go back to work, the businesses that didn’t get to work for the last year and people who want to see their grandparents, brothers and sisters.”
She hopes the three centres will be able to reach peak capacity of delivering 6,000 vaccines in total by late May or early June.
Patricia’s main role is to ensure there are good clinical policies, procedures and protocols around the administration, delivery and storage of the vaccine. She has to ensure the right vaccine goes to the right patient, recruiting vaccinators and ancillary staff such as health care personnel.
Asked if the temporary suspension of the AstraZeneca and Johnson and Johnson vaccines had made her job more difficult, Patricia said it hasn’t and stressed she is happy to be able to support patients to make an informed decision.
Vaccines are administered in the Mid-West on an eight-week schedule. A major recruitment drive has enlisted physiotherapists, retired general practitioners, retired nurses, occupational therapists, paramedic students and student nurses and health care workers for training to become vaccinators.
On Sunday, the number of vaccines being delivered at the Radisson Blu increased to about 1,300 daily.
“We are now vaccinating people from the public portal who are so happy to be coming in for vaccination. We are getting good feedback. It is still a work in progress in getting our process right around queues. Our vaccines and vaccine processes are working well.
“Coming from wards where patients have been really sick and died from Covid-19, people in the 65 to 69 age group who are getting the Astra Zeneca vaccine are a really vulnerable health group.
The risk of getting Covid-19 and getting very sick is very much lessened by taking the vaccine. The risk of getting the very blood clot is very limited compared to the risk of getting the virus.
“The public are well educated, they are listening, learning and making their own decisions. It is a fresh challenge and a huge change. Delivering hope and having this opportunity in this new role is wonderful. It is a very busy role managing vaccines, staff and queues.”
Dr Michael Kelleher said the vaccination of those 70 and over is progressing very well and understands that most patients who are registering on the HSE portal are receiving an appointment within a few days.
By Dan Danaher