Stephen McNeice
Stephen McNeice

16.56 12 Jan 2021


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Residents and staff at a nursing home in Phoenix Park have started receiving their first doses of the COVID-19 vaccine.

Up to 600 residents and staff at St Mary's Hospital will receive the jab over the next three days.

Henry McKean captured the relief and emotion at the home for today's Moncrieff - speaking to the staff on the grounds: through a window, two-metres apart, and behind PPE.

75-year-old man becomes first resident to get COVID-19 vaccine at Dublin nursing home

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75-year-old Eamon Hughes - originally from Cavan, and living in Meath for 40 years - was the first to get the Pfizer / BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at St Mary's Hospital.

He said: "I'm feeling fine - no problems so far anyway!

"Anything that tries to stop the virus is good news.

"I'm looking forward to seeing my wife Rose and my daughters Shannon and Paula.

"I'm a Cavan man - you can't get the Cavan out of the man!"

Vaccinating all residents of nursing homes

Vaccines arriving at the nursing home Vaccines arriving at the nursing home

Dr Evan Murphy, the Principal Medical Officer in north Dublin, says officials are working to fully vaccinate every resident in nursing homes, residential units and community units in the area by February 18th.

He said: "The same will be true across the country.

"It's going very well - it's a very exciting new vaccine... it's the first time we've used this type of vaccine.

"We're using what's called nanotechnology instead of microscopic technology. It involves injecting messenger RNA into the muscle cells, and the cells are instructed to reproduce proteins parts of the virus which the body then attacks, destroys and retains the memory."

Dr Murphy said residents of homes have not had direct visits from relatives, which has proven very difficult for them.

He said: "A lot of the relatives have had to stand outside windows and speak to their elderly mother and father via mobile phones.

"Our aim is that when everyone is vaccinated and protected against coronavirus they will be able to renew face-to-face and hand-to-hand contact with each other."

'Exciting day'

Ligimol Varghese, an Assistant Director of Nursing at the nursing home, said it's a very exciting day for St Mary's.

She said: "We had a very tough year, so it's very important people are getting vaccinated.

"We're going to protect ourselves, our loved ones - and more importantly the people we care for.

"We have a responsibility to look after them and keep them safe."

Ligimol got the first dose of the vaccine herself today, and she now hopes she'll be able to be a role model to encourage other staff members to get the jab.

She said: "It was just like a normal injection - it's fine".

Sarah Jane Stynes, a healthcare assistant at the site who also got vaccinated today, said they're now hopefully looking at the back of a tough year.

She said: "It's a new beginning, a new start... it's hope."

Main image: Eamon Hughes after receiving the first dose of the vaccine

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