More than 40 members of the 28th Infantry Battalion based at Finner Camp received their first dose of the Covid-19 Vaccine yesterday.
The members received the early dose to enable them to carry out work relating to Covid within the community.
Operations Officer at Finner Camp, Captain Neil O’Connor, said the troops were happy to be receiving their vaccines.
“These are troops we are going to be using to help the public in various tasks,” he explained.
“For example, for the duration of the pandemic, we have been helping out at swabbing centres throughout the country, in Letterkenny, Donegal town and Sligo. They have also been involved in patient transfers in Dublin. We are also shortly looking at helping out in vaccination centres throughout the country. So the people who are getting vaccinated here today will be engaged in these tasks.”
Private Paul O’Brien was one of the first to be vaccinated.
“It’s great to get the vaccine, to finally get it over and done with so we can move on with our work,” he said.
Sergeant Mark Gillen said it was great to see the vaccine being rolled out to the Defence Forces.
“We are ready to help wherever we might be deployed in the future. We are ready for any task that might come our way”said Sgt Gillen.
Defence Force members were required to take a mandatory temperature check before receiving their vaccine.
National Ambulance Service Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) members, Intermediate Care Operatives Diane Wood and Michelle Behan as well as Education and Competency Assurance Officers, Mark Sheerin and Kenny Vaughan were on hand to ensure the vaccinations ran smoothly.
“As part of the Government response, the Defence Forces here in Ballyshannon have stepped up and they have taken on a lot of the healthcare roles that are traditionally done by healthcare professionals, nurses, EMT’s, paramedics. They have been working in the swabbing centres around the country. They have been trained by the National Ambulance Service. To help them and assist them in the role, as they are effectively healthcare professionals over the last twelve months during the pandemic, they also need to be treated like healthcare professionals and receive the vaccines early on to allow them to continue with the work in the healthcare settings” said Mr Sheerin.