Sixty-seven pharmacists in Donegal have written to the Health Minister offering to play their part in the roll-out of the Covid-19 vaccination programme.
A joint-letter was issued by local practitioners to Minister Donnelly this week, with the backing of Donegal TDs Pearse Doherty and Pádraig Mac Lochlainn.
The Sinn Féin TDs have urged the Minister to clarify the timeline in relation to when pharmacists and their frontline staff can expect to receive their own vaccinations.
Deputy Doherty said they have been contacted by a number of pharmacists in Donegal who are concerned about when they will received Covid-19 vaccinations.
He said: “We have written to the Minister for Health seeking clarity in relation to the rollout of the vaccines for pharmacists and their staff and asking that invitations be issued to them immediately that will enable them to register on the portal, similar to the process rolled out for GP’s. We need a timeframe for when frontline workers will receive these vaccinations.
“In addition, we have asked the Minister to act on the commitment previously given to supply pharmacies with PPE equipment. Despite the promises from Government, the pharmacists have been left to fend for themselves in this regard. This must be rectified.
“Finally, we have urged the Minister to consider using this already mobilised and medically trained workforce to assist with the roll-out of the Covid-19 vaccinations. We have already seen the consequences of poor-planning in relation to receiving our fair share of the vaccinations to-date. We have urged the Minister to plan now, alongside the pharmacies, so that vaccinations can be quickly and effectively rolled-out across our communities when the time comes.”
Deputy Doherty said pharmacists could play a key role in the roll-out of the Covid-19 vaccination programme in our communities.
“Every year, including this year, GP’s and pharmacies have worked together to distribute approximately 1.7 million doses of the flu vaccine. There is no reason why, with proper planning, that this couldn’t also be the case for the Covid-19 vaccinations.
“These are basic steps that can be taken to ensure we protect our pharmacies and the services they offer, while also enabling pharmacies to help us in the vaccination programme.”