A woman aged 79 and a Covid-19 ward nurse are the first two people to be vaccinated with the Covid-19 vaccine in the Republic of Ireland at St James's Hospital in Dublin which is in the same HSE hospital group as Portlaoise.
Annie Lynch, 79, from the Liberties area of Dublin was vaccinated on Tuesday, December 29 in St James's. She is a resident in the Mercer's Institute for Successful Ageing at St James's. Annie is the first person in the 26 counties to get the jab.
"I feel very privileged to be the first person in Ireland to receive the vaccine,” said Annie after getting the Pfizer BioNTech vaccine. "There is a bit of hope there now".
A very welcome beginning to lead us into a new year. Annie Lynch, the first person in Ireland to receive the #CovidVaccine and Clinical Nurse Manager, Deborah Cross who administered it in @stjamesdublin today. #ProtectYourPatients #ProtectEachOther @eile27 pic.twitter.com/CGiMcGTXPz— Dublin Midlands Hospital Group (@DMHospitalGroup) December 29, 2020
Bernie Waterhouse a clinical nurse manager at the Covid-19 ward in the Dublin hospital became the first healthcare worker to be vaccinated.
"I wanted to get the vaccine to protect myself, and the people I work with and care for every day, from COVID-19,” said the Frontline worker who works at St James which is part of the Dublin Midlands Hospital Group. This group includes the Midland Regional Hospitals in Portlaoise and Tullamore, Naas General in Kildare, Tallaght as well as the Coombe and St Lukes all in Dublin.
Thank you Bernie Waterhouse who has been working on a designated #Covid19 ward in @stjamesdublin, the first healthcare worker in Ireland to get the #CovidVaccine. #ProtectingYourself #ProtectingYourPatients @eile27 pic.twitter.com/l5DFuc0H5K— Dublin Midlands Hospital Group (@DMHospitalGroup) December 29, 2020
Paul Reid, HSE chief executive welcomed the vaccinations in a tweet in which he urged the public to unite in their efforts against the virus.
"Today, a great beacon of light starts to shine, as we commence our vaccination programme. Let's all galvanise and unite behind this. It will take time but stay positive, stay safe, stick with us and we will get there," he said.
Some 10,000 doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine arrived in Ireland on St Stephen's Day. This has since been increased to 40,000 doses enough to administer to 20,000 people.
Vaccines were also given in Beaumont Hospital, Dublin, Cork University Hospital and University Hospital Galway. The Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly welcomed the first day's vaccination.
"It’s been the most difficult year for our country. But thanks to the efforts of so many, today we begin to vaccinate the vulnerable and our front line healthcare workers. Starting with Annie, today we begin a new and hopeful chapter in our fight against Covid-19," he tweeted.
Speaking on RTÉ's Morning Ireland, Covid Vaccine Task Force Professor Brian MacCraith outlined what would happen next. He said it would be 'very possible' that all vaccinations of nursing homes would be complete by February. He said anyone in Ireland who wants the vaccine will, in "a best case scenario" receive it by August.
He added that the manufacturing success of the companies, the delivery schedules would be a factor in having vaccination completed by the end of August.
Vaccination began in Northern Ireland on December 8. Since then many Irish citizens have received the jab including Laois native and ICU nurse Ronan Ging.