The HSE has said more than 10,000 doses of the Pfizer BioNtech vaccine have been administered in nursing homes and community hospitals across Cork and Kerry.
Cork Kerry Community Healthcare vaccinators completed the first round of the roll-out of the Pfzier BioNtech vaccine to residents and staff at more than 90 nursing homes and community hospitals.
The roll-out will now move to residents aged over 65 in other long-term residential facilities, including disability and mental health facilities, and the HSE said supply of the vaccine was the only limiting factor.
The vaccination rollout was conducted by peer vaccinators in Cork Kerry Community Healthcare facilities, and teams of HSE vaccinators in private and voluntary facilities, supported by teams from the South/South West Hospital Group.
Among the locations facilitating vaccinations this weekend was St Joseph’s Nursing Home in Killorglin.
Kay O’Connor, vaccination team lead in Kerry said: “It is a great achievement to have offered and administered the first dose of the Covid-19 vaccine to all the nursing homes in Kerry within a two-week period and this would not have been possible without the hard work and dedication of all the staff.
"Everyone worked well together and we all look forward to working together again in the coming weeks in the delivery of the second phase of this national programme."
Ms O'Connor stressed the need for people to continue observing all measures to stop the spread of the coronavirus, with 47 outbreaks currently in residential settings across both counties.
Cork Kerry Community Healthcare Chief Officer Michael Fitzgerald said: “I cannot overstate how serious the situation is right now for many nursing homes, community hospitals and other centres. The level of staff ill with Covid-19 across the health service means that it is difficult for some locations to maintain their staffing at the levels needed, and this is a constant challenge. The HSE and Cork Kerry Community Healthcare is now supporting a significant number of residential centres in crisis. Staff are going to heroic lengths to make sure that residents continue to receive the care they need, and their communities may never know the debt of gratitude we all owe them.”
He also said there was still an urgent need for more healthcare staff, particularly nurses and healthcare assistants, to redeploy to nursing homes.
“I repeat our appeal for any healthcare staff, particularly nurses and healthcare assistants not currently involved in direct care of patients or residents and who are available to contact me on MichaelM.Fitzgerald@hse.ie”