GPs and healthcare workers receive Covid vaccine in mass clinics across Ireland

Yesterday it emerged that the country's vaccination rollout programme may need to be adjusted in the wake of a decision by Pfizer to reduce deliveries to Europe.
GPs and healthcare workers receive Covid vaccine in mass clinics across Ireland

GPs line up to recieve the Moderna vaccine against Covid-19 at the HSE National Ambulance Service HQ. Picture Sam Boal/Photocall Ireland 

1,800 GPs and practice nurses are being vaccinated against Covid-19 at mass clinics in three locations today.

800 of those will be given the Moderna dose in Dublin's Phoenix Park, while teams in Galway and Portlaoise plan to administer 500 vaccines each.

GPs and their teams were chosen as they're in constant contact with patients and it's hoped they'll be giving the doses to others soon.

The HSE's National Director of Quality Improvement, Dr Philip Crowley, said more of these mass vaccination clinics could be set up in the coming weeks. 

"Well for a start we will be giving all of these people a second dose in a month's time. 

"Depending on supply of vaccine we would intend to run more of these mass vaccinations clinics probably in the next couple of weeks," he said. 

GPs and their teams were chosen as they're in constant contact with patients and it's hoped they'll be giving the doses to others soon. File picture. 

GPs and their teams were chosen as they're in constant contact with patients and it's hoped they'll be giving the doses to others soon. File picture. 

Speaking after receiving her first dose of the Covid-19 vaccine at Phoenix Park today, Dublin GP Sinead Cronin said there is a lot of relief among health workers due to the toll of the pandemic on their personal lives. 

"There's a massive sense of relief among GPs, and all our GP nurses and all of our support staff. 

"I think Covid has taken a huge amount away from people, as a society, and I think GPs on the frontline have just gone above and beyond at all stages of the pandemic, so its great to see the euphoria today coming out from people getting their vaccines "she said.

Private hospital staff vaccinations questioned

Meanwhile, the Tánaiste has questioned why staff at the Beacon Hospital, which has not made beds available publicly, have received the vaccine ahead of public hospital staff.

Leo Varadkar said the designation of the Beacon as a vaccination centre is “at odds” with the hospital’s refusal to sign a deal on making beds available to the HSE to treat the mounting number of patients with Covid-19.

He pointed out that the Government policy is for those who are dealing directly with patients to have priority for the vaccine followed by those dealing with samples. Healthcare workers who are not dealing with patients are in the third tier of priority, he said.

The Tánaiste has question why staff at the Beacon Hospital have received the vaccine for Covid-19 ahead of public staff. 

The Tánaiste has question why staff at the Beacon Hospital have received the vaccine for Covid-19 ahead of public staff. 

Labour leader Alan Kelly also criticised a situation n which staff in private hospitals would get vaccines ahead of those in public facilities, including those which had refused to offer beds to the State.

However, a spokesman for Beacon Hospital said only the 90 staff who are giving vaccines to HSE staff have themselves been already vaccinated.

“The remainder of Beacon Hospital’s 1,700 staff will be vaccinated when scheduled by the HSE,” he said.

Yesterday it emerged that the country's vaccination rollout programme may need to be adjusted in the wake of a decision by Pfizer to reduce deliveries to Europe.

The pharmaceutical giant is scaling up its plant in Belgium, but the move could see a delay in the delivery of vaccines to some countries across the continent.

Concerns have also been raised as it was announced the period of time between people receiving the two doses of a Covid-19 vaccine is being increased to 28 days from the current 21 days.

A spokeswoman for the HSE said vaccine roll-out plans have to be flexible.

“Pfizer has informed the HSE that there may be fluctuations in orders and shipping schedules over the coming weeks,“ she said. 

"This is a dynamic situation with discussions ongoing at EU level. The HSE remains in close contact with Pfizer to manage the continuity of the supply line.”

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