Featured image: Clinical Nurse Manager Lorraine Guthrie receiving Donegal’s first Pfizer BioNTech vaccine at Letterkenny University Hospital on Wednesday 6th January
IRELAND’S Covid-19 vaccination programme is to be accelerated to ensure residents and staff of residential care homes get the first dose within the next two weeks.
Health Minister Stephen Donnelly has announced plans to speed up vaccines for 75,000 people working and living in nursing homes as well as mental health and disability residential centres.
He also said plans are on target to give over 40,000 vaccines to frontline healthcare workers and nursing home staff and residents by the end of this week.
“We had planned to vaccinate all 75,000 residents and staff with the first dose of the vaccine by the end of January. We’re now accelerating this plan to finish earlier, meaning that the first dose will be given to all residents and staff in the next two weeks,” Minister Donnelly said.
Vaccinations will take place seven days a week, while 65 teams are being mobilised including hospital vaccinators, community vaccinators, school vaccinators and the National Ambulance Service.
“We’ve decided to use some of our one week buffer as our supply of vaccines has been constant and we’ve received solid reassurance from Pfizer that this will continue to be the case,” Minister Donnelly added.
“Speed is of the essence and this is especially true for the most vulnerable people in our society.”
Meanwhile the European Commission has struck a deal to secure 300million additional doses of Pfizer/BioNTech’s vaccine.
Minister Donnelly said he was looking forward to reviewing the options for Ireland under the deal.
“No decisions have been taken as to the allocation of additional dosages to Member States at this stage,” he confirmed.