Covid-19: Vaccine rollout starts in nursing homes

Some 3,000 residents and staff are to be vaccinated this week

January 7th, 2021: Curragh Lawn Nursing Home became the first facility in Co Kildare to receive the Covid-19 vaccination when 37 residents and 52 members of staff received the first dose of the Pfizer Bion Tech vaccine. Video: Bryan O'Brien

 

The rollout of the Covid-19 vaccine in privately owned and voluntary nursing homes began on Thursday morning.

Twenty-two nursing homes are scheduled to receive the vaccinations from today, with about 3,000 residents and staff to be vaccinated this week.

The Government hopes to vaccinate all 30,000 nursing home residents and 35,000 staff in the country’s 582 nursing homes by the end of next month.

Tadhg Daly, chief executive of Nursing Homes Ireland (NHI), said it is continuing to engage with the HSE on “expediting rollout of the vaccine to nursing homes across the country in as quick a manner as feasible”.

“Every day of the week presents opportunity for nursing home residents and staff to be vaccinated. Experienced peer vaccinators employed within these specialised healthcare settings must be enabled to avail of Covid-specific training to support in the administration of the vaccine to nursing home residents,” Mr Daly said.

“Every day counts and every element of support must be utilised. We require a commitment nursing homes will also be encompassed within the seven-day-a week rollout of the vaccine.”

John Cremin (95), from Knocknagree, Co Cork and resident at Killarney Community Hospital, was the first community hospital resident to receive the vaccine in Co Kerry.

“I’m very glad to be getting my vaccine today – it’s not something that happens every week,” Mr Cremin said.

The father-of-four has six grandchildren and has been a resident at Killarney Community Hospital since 2013. He said he is looking forward to a time when he can have visitors again.

“We haven’t been able to have visitors for a while now. I’m not a bit worried about getting the vaccine, it’s good that it’s here,” he said.

Director of nursing Máire Flynn was the first staff member at Killarney Community Hospital to be vaccinated.

“I am delighted that we are receiving the vaccine, and so happy for our residents and our staff. We are so grateful to everyone who has made this happen, and so happy to be a part of this. Our residents are very excited, and are thrilled to be getting something that gives us all new hope for 2021,” she said.

Cork Kerry Community Healthcare said it expects to have vaccination teams travelling to more than 30 public and private facilities in the counties throughout next week.

“We expect to vaccinate more than 3,500 staff and residents next week alone, and this programme will accelerate in the following weeks,” it said.