The Saolta Hospital Group says the COVID 19 vaccination programme for health care workers and medically vulnerable people in Donegal is working well.
The newly established Vaccination Centre in the IT in Letterkenny began operating on March 11thm with Saolta saying the team there will identify and resolve any minor issues that may arise before the Centre will be used as a Vaccination Centre for the wider public.
Saolta CEO Tony Canavan says centres like the one at Letterkenny IT will be ready to deliver this vaccine to the wider community once we move into that phase.
Statement in full -
Vaccinations continue at Letterkenny IT for Donegal Health Care Workers and medically vulnerable very high risk patients
The COVID 19 vaccination programme for health care workers and those medically vulnerable very high risk patients in Cohort 4 across county Donegal has now moved to the newly established Vaccination Centre in the IT in Letterkenny. The vaccination team at the Centre in the IT will continue with this vaccination programme over the coming weeks and the team there will identify and resolve any minor issues that may arise before the Centre will be used as a Vaccination Centre for the wider public.
Paul Hooton, Chief Director of Nursing and Midwifery at the Saolta Group which has overall responsibility for the vaccination programme across the west and north west said, “At this point, we are confident that almost all healthcare workers in hospitals have received the vaccination (first dose) and many have now received their second dose. There are many thousands of frontline healthcare workers working outside of hospitals and over the last number of weeks we have been steadily nearing completion for this group, which includes workers from the public and private health services, those employed by the HSE and those employed by funded agencies. We have also commenced the vaccination programme for the next group identified, these are people aged 16 to 69 who are at very high risk due to their medical condition.”
Commenting Paddy Rooney who is managing the Vaccination Centre at IT Letterkenny said, “We began vaccinating here in Letterkenny IT on Thursday March 11th and we are continuing to vaccinate health care staff, and people who are vulnerable due to a debilitating medical condition aged 16-69 from cohort 4. We had been carrying out healthcare worker vaccinations in Letterkenny University Hospital and the Vestry in St Conal’s but eventually all of this category will have their second doses in the centre in the IT. We will continue to administer first and second doses of the COVID-19 vaccine to healthcare staff including hospital staff, community staff and other healthcare workers. Across the west and north west, we have established six vaccination centres which will ultimately be used to deliver the vaccination programme to the wider public.”
“Here in LYIT, staff from Letterkenny University Hospital are administering the vaccine and we are recruiting additional staff, including vaccinators to ensure that we have the necessary teams in place to deliver the COVID-19 vaccination programme to the people of Donegal. This will be in addition to the vaccination programmes being carried out by CHO 1 in the disability and mental health services and of course the over 70s vaccination programme which is being rolled out by GPs.”
Cara O’ Neill, Head of Health and Wellbeing, CHO 1 who is leading on the vaccination programme on behalf of HSE Community Services added, “The Residential Care vaccination programme involved delivering over 12,000 doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine in 53 residential facilities for those aged 65 and over. Vaccination is nearly completed across the CHO 1 area, which includes counties Sligo, Leitrim, Donegal, Cavan and Monaghan. This was a mammoth operation - involving 11 vaccination teams with nurses, doctors, administrative staff and the National Ambulance Service. I want to acknowledge the commitment of all the teams who worked so hard to ensure that our most vulnerable older people are protected. This is really positive for residents, their families and staff who have all endured a really difficult year.
This week also sees the reopening of visiting for residents in public and private residential facilities which is most welcome news. The vaccination programme for people under 65 years with a disability also commenced in the last 2 weeks, people will be invited and scheduled for vaccination over the next 4 weeks.”
John Hayes, Chief Officer CHO 1 stated, "Across the CHO 1 area we will continue to work hard to deliver the vaccine to other priority groups. We are also conscious of the needs of people living in more remote locations including off shore islands and the more peripheral parts of our region and we will be flexible to make sure that everyone can get this vaccine as quickly and as efficiently as possible. While the on-going vaccination roll-out is really positive, COVID-19 continues to be transmitted in our community and we all need to stick to the public health guidelines and keep up our guard at all times.”
Tony Canavan, CEO of the Saolta University Health Care Group added, “This will be the single largest vaccination programme ever undertaken in the Irish state and it will require huge co-operation across the health services, and across a range of state agencies. To date we have been somewhat limited by the availability of vaccine. We expect that to change over the coming weeks. We currently have access to 3 different vaccines and expect others to come on stream. Centres like the one in IT Letterkenny will ensure that we have the infrastructure and teams in place and ready to deliver this vaccine to the wider community once we move into that vaccination phase.”
Photo 1: Paul Hooton, Group Director of Nursing and Midwifery; Cara O Neill, CHO 1 Head of Health and Wellbeing; Paddy Rooney, Operational site lead at the vaccination centre and JJ McGowan, National Ambulance Service.
Photo 2: Pauline McLintock, CNM, Letterkenny University Hospital; Brian Coll, Superior Security; Elizabeth Neely, ADONM; Dr Anne Drake and Paul Hooton, Group Director of Nursing and Midwifery.