The Health Service Executive intends to recruit thousands of people to help administer Covid-19 vaccinations, including student nurses, retired healthcare workers, civil defence volunteers and paramedics, officials said.
They will assist at 34 vaccination centres across the State, which will administer thousands of vaccinations per day.
Taoiseach Micheál Martin yesterday expressed confidence there will be enough medical professionals to administer the vaccines.
“People have responded to the call from the HSE in terms of coming back in to vaccinate so we have retired medical practitioners, retired GPs, nursing professionals in different capacities – there is a broad pool of people we can draw from that will add to the existing health service workforce.”
Mr Martin said the Government will continue to ensure that frontline healthcare workers, nursing home residents and nursing home staff receive priority. A more general rollout of the vaccine will follow.
Mr Martin was speaking during a visit to Cork City Hall which is to be used as a mass vaccination centre over the coming months, delivering vaccines to some 2,400 people a day, seven days a week. In total, the three centres in Cork – in the city hall, Páirc Uí Chaoimh GAA grounds and at the Cork Institute of Technology – will administer 10,000 shots a day.
The centre at the Helix in Dublin is expected to vaccinate 5,000 people a day.
Sources say the State’s vaccination programme will accelerate significantly at the beginning of April, when as many as 250,000 vaccines per week may become available.
Government insiders regard April as the key month. The challenge then, sources say, will shift to having the infrastructure in place to deliver greatly increased numbers of vaccines.
Meanwhile, Government officials are working to finalise legislation to introduce mandatory quarantining in hotels. Time to debate and vote on the legislation does not appear on a draft Dáil schedule for next week, though sources say the intention is for it to go to Cabinet for approval on Tuesday.
Plans will then have to be put in place to allow all 160 TDs to return to the Dáil for any vote. The Dáil has been sitting in reduced numbers amid the Level 5 Covid-19 restrictions.
The number of countries on the Government’s coronavirus high-risk list has increased to 20, with people arriving from Austria now required to self-quarantine for a mandatory 14 days.
Angola, Austria, Botswana, Burundi, Cape Verde, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Lesotho, Malawi, Eswatini, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Rwanda, Seychelles, Tanzania, United Arab Emirates, Zambia, Zimbabwe have all been added to the high-risk list, joining Brazil and South Africa, which have been on the list since February 5th.