HSE staff ready to vaccinate Laois: Dep Operations Lead Anne Moore, Clinical Leads Paula Traynor, Anne Delaney, Midlands Vaccination Lead Siobhán Murphy and Centre Co-ordinator Marianne Tierney.
The function room in the Midlands Park Hotel Portlaoise has seen many a special occasion, but none so long awaited as will start this Wednesday, April 21.
The pace of Covid-19 vaccinations in Laois is set to take off with the opening of the first 'mass vaccination centre' for the county on Wednesday April 21 in the Midlands Park Hotel in Portlaoise.
People who are aged 65 to 69 and who have registered on the HSE website and received an appointment, will start arriving for their AstraZeneca jab in the morning, in what is sure to be a welcome relief and end of worry for many.
The Health Service Executive is beginning its first wave of mass community vaccinations and HSE staff are all set to welcome Laois people aged from 65 to 69 who registered online and received their appointment time,
They will begin with 377 vaccinations per day, ramping up to 1,200 per day, seven days a week within the coming weeks.
It is a day long awaited day not just by the Laois public but by the local HSE staff, with over 60 staff co-opted and ready to work 12 hour shifts to get the AstraZeneca vaccine delivered.
Marianne Tierney is Centre Co-ordinator for Portlaoise Community Vaccination centre.
“It is a great day, I'm looking forward to getting started. It has been a hard year and it is a privilege now to to get the service out to the people of Laois,” she said.
The HSE gave a preview tour of the facility they have set up, showing how the process will happen for the public, from a welcome at the door to check details, to a 15 minute sit down at the end for observation. Watch our video tour here.
In all it will take 30 to 45 minutes to an hour to get the jab.
Ms Tierney said they are eager to get started.
“We are delighted to be at this stage, particularly for the people of Laois, who like everyone else have been curtailed, and really co-operated with the guidelines. We've seen the drop in Covid numbers in the nursing homes, the vaccine is effective.
“It is a great day and I'm really looking forward to Wednesday to get started and get the first week under our belts,” she said.
Laois Offaly TDs Brian Stanley and Charlie Flanagan toured the facility, along with the three councillors who are on the council health forum, Cllrs Padraig Fleming, Paschal McEvoy and Thomasina Connell.
“I wish the programme well, it is a hugely exciting week for the people of Laois. Let's hope it is the last chapter in Covid-19 in what has been a really challenging year. I can detect a high level of enthusiasm and professionalism here and I trust that by the end we will all have an enjoyable Electric Picnic and National Ploughing Championship,” Deputy Flanagan (below) said.
“We can see the vaccine working in terms of saving lives and saving people from falling seriously ill as the rates in the hospital and ICU have gone down,” Deputy Stanley said.
Register for the vaccine online at www.hse.ie or by phone at 1850 24 1850. People are asked to bring proof of appointment and photo ID.