Community vaccination has begun around Ireland starting with the over 85s
A Laois GP has updated the public on the phased nature of the Covid-19 vaccination programme as provided by family doctors in their surgeries across the county.
Portlaoise-based Dr David Booth, outlined what the priority group can expect. People aged 85 began receiving vaccines in some practices last week.
“A number of GP practices throughout the country and county will be rolling out Covid 19 vaccinations in the coming weeks for their over 70 year old patients,” said Dr Booth .
He explained the reason for the phased nature of the process which is dependent on a centralised supply line to ensure the vaccines are stored safetly. The Pfizer BioNTech vaccine has a limited shelf life at normal storage temperatures.
“The vaccines are being delivered to practices at different times, so some GPs in an area are getting them before other GPs. This is as a result of the HSE cold chain delivery and it is outside of GPs control,” he said.
Dr Booth outlined the staging of vaccines in the over-70 population.
“Once we commence vaccinations, over 85 years old people will be vaccinated first. GPs will then receive Covid 19 vaccine deliveries from the HSE every two weeks.
“This will allow GPs vaccinate, in order of priority, their over 80 year old patients, followed by their over 75s and finally their over 70 year old patients.
“This will happen over the coming 12 to 14 weeks, depending upon the date GPs receive their first delivery,” he said.
He said the HSE have established a Covid 19 vaccination helpline which is available to answer queries people may have about the vaccine.
“We would encourage people to use these excellent resources as it will keep GP phone lines free to continue all the other day to day work we continue to do,” said the doctor who is attached to the Cedar Clinic in Portlaoise.
He said the HSE supports can be contacted by phoning, locall 1850241850 or people can find this information at /www2.hse.ie/covid-19-vaccine/.
“We thank our patients for their patience and support over the past 12 months which have been extremely challenging for all. It is wonderful to have reached this exciting stage. We are looking forward to the relief we expect these vaccines to bring to all our patients and to society as a whole,” he said.