People seeking the Covid-19 vaccine are being asked to wait their turn, while GP surgeries in Donegal say they cannot accommodate special requests.
The Department of Health is currently on track to meet its target of administering 140,000 vaccines to healthcare workers and care home residents by the end of this week.
Meanwhile, GP surgeries and pharmacies are preparing for the roll-out of vaccines to 1.5 million people in the community. First priority will be given to over 70s living at home. The GP and pharmacy scheme is expected to start in mid-February.
GP surgeries in Donegal are telling patients to wait to be contacted first.
“We cannot diverge from the priority list, set out by the government and the HSE, so please do not ask us to,” said a notice from Scally McDaid Roarty Medical Practice in Letterkenny.
Dr Denis McCauley, chair of the Irish Medical Organisation’s GP committee, who is based in Stranolar, said the discretion GPs usually apply to the flu vaccine will not be possible in the case of Covid-19.
He said: “It is wonderful that so many people are willing to take the vaccine but it is important to recognise that GPs must in the first instance prioritise patients within the agreed age cohorts and patients will receive an invite into surgeries as they become eligible for vaccination.”
Health Minister Stephen Donnelly has told the Dáil today that every citizen in Ireland will be offered a vaccine before September, subject to approvals and supply. Ireland is due to receive 600,000 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine in first quarter of 2021.
The Health Minister also confirmed that dentists and carers “working in the formal sector” like the HSE or private caring companies will be added to Cohort 2 in the roll-out plan.