'Signs not good' for proper Midlands vaccine rollout - Laois TD
A Laois TD is critical of how the Covid-19 vaccine is being rolled out in the Midlands.
Sinn Féin TD Brian Stanley said today that the rollout of the vaccine "represents one of the biggest challenges for 2021".
"Quite simply we have to get it right. An all-hands-on-deck approach is required to ensure a safe, speedy and efficient rollout programme. The signs are not good at this point that the mobilisation required is happening in the Midlands.
“We have seen with test and trace that under-resourced public health departments with staff shortages and antiquated IT systems has created real problems. It is vital that the vaccine roll out is properly resourced, and that GPs, School Vaccination Teams and Pharmacists are also centrally involved in the rollout as soon as higher numbers of doses arrive.
“It is vital that we have full transparency and detail on staffing and infrastructure. How many staff will be needed? How many are currently in place and when it is envisaged to establish mass vaccination centres? The lack of a timeline and the absence of details on staff and infrastructure is of great concern.
“We are told that the vaccine will be delivered in mass vaccination centres and this is something Sinn Féin called for. Have centres been secured in Laois/Offaly for this? We have learned from an internal HSE report that there are severe staffing and resource shortages in public health. Other qualified individuals will need to be redeployed to the vaccination programme, and more will need to be trained.
“While the supply of vaccines is outside of our control, it is important we have regular reporting of dose arrivals as well as administration. As more vaccines get regulatory approval, we may need capacity to administer 100,000 doses or more a week.
“We cannot underestimate the scale of the challenge ahead of us. It will be the largest vaccination programme in the history of this state.
“Ground was lost in health care in 2020 which will take years to get back. Covid related hospitalisations are rising and this will stretch hospitals to capacity, and again delay the delivery of non-Covid related Health Care.
“The bottom line is there can be no room for underinvestment, lack of preparation or undue delay in this vaccine rollout," Deputy Stanley said.
Covid -19 vaccines have begun on hospital staff in Laois, Offaly and Kildare while nursing home vaccinations start in Laois on January 12. Read more here.