The COVID-19 vaccination programme for Mid-West healthcare workers was rolled out to Ennis Hospital today.
The arrival of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine in the County Clare capital town this Wednesday has been welcomed by frontline healthcare workers who have been challenged as never before throughout the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
The first healthcare worker at the hospital to be vaccinated was Dr Mary Kennedy of the Medical Assessment Unit, who received her vaccine from Staff Nurse Caroline Mulligan.
Dr Kennedy said: “This is a day we have all been waiting for in Ennis Hospital and the arrival of these vaccines gives us all hope that an end is in sight.”
The first batch of vaccines was delivered to Ennis Hospital this Wednesday morning, and it is planned initially to administer 50 doses per day to healthcare staff. For Dr Kennedy and all those who received vaccinations today, a second vaccination is required after a three-week period.
This is part of a regional vaccination programme that will see the vaccine administered to all staff in UL Hospitals Group, the HSE Mid-West Community Healthcare Organisation and other healthcare settings. Vaccination at the region’s main acute hospital, University Hospital Limerick (UHL), got under way on Monday, and at University Maternity Hospital Limerick (UMHL) on Tuesday.
Up to Tuesday evening, 490 staff in total had been vaccinated under the programme. By the end of the week, with plans at an advanced stage to start vaccination at Croom, Nenagh and St John’s Hospital, it is envisaged that at least 1,500 healthcare workers will have received the first dose of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine.
The Hospitals Group has a network of peer vaccinators who have been trained to administer the vaccines to staff, initially to those directly involved in patient care, including nursing, medical, healthcare assistants, allied health professionals and support staff.
Each person who gets the COVID-19 vaccine will receive a HSE vaccine information leaflet, along with more detailed manufacturer’s patient information leaflet, before getting the vaccine. Afterwards, a vaccine record card is given, showing the name and batch of the vaccine they have received.
Ms Margaret Gleeson, Chief Director of Nursing and Midwifery, UL Hospitals Group, and chairperson of the Group’s COVID-19 Vaccination Steering Group, said: “With vaccination successfully under way at UHL since Monday and at UMHL from Tuesday, we are delighted that vaccination has now begun at Ennis Hospital, and pleased with our progress so far as part of the initial phase of the largest vaccination programme ever undertaken in this country.
This is one of a number of vaccines that we expect to be available to hospital staff and the wider population over the coming weeks and months; and that they have been developed and approved so soon after the emergence of the novel coronavirus SARS-CoV2 is a historic achievement for all concerned. These vaccines are safe, effective and will offer real protection against a disease that has caused so much illness and death in Ireland and around the world.”