Doctors are welcoming an “historic moment” in Ireland’s coronavirus battle as the community rollout of the vaccine gets underway.
The vaccination of people over the age of 85 begins around the country today.
The vaccines will be rolled out in one of 40 vaccination centres and in larger GP practices.
More than 80,000 doses are due to be administered this week – almost double the weekly average up to now.
In a statement, the Irish College of General Practitioners (ICGP) Clinical Lead on COVID-19 Dr Nuala O’Connor said it marks the, “the start of the recovery from COVID-19 for many people, and is an historic moment. “
“GPs look forward to vaccinating this cohort of patients, who are particularly vulnerable to COVID-19,” she said.
“This is a major exercise in vaccine delivery but we are very confident general practice can deliver safely and effectively.”
Dr O’Connor said the vaccinations will be delivered at over 80 GP practices this week and over 300 practices the following week.
“This is the first step in the three-week programme to deliver first vaccines to over 85’s,” she said.
“Patients are urged to wait to hear from their GP for their appointment time. Each practice will proceed to the 80–84-year age group once those over 85 have been vaccinated and as soon as vaccine supplies are delivered.”
Spent time today with the vaccination teams in the centre in Sligo, @itsligo. A lovely atmosphere as 500 GPs & Practice Nurses are vaccinated there. A great cooperation by everyone to make this happen. Thank you all, @HSELive @IMO_IRL @ICGPnews @defenceforces @AmbulanceNAS pic.twitter.com/dP5VQGpfHC
— Paul Reid (@paulreiddublin) February 14, 2021
This week’s programme will also see 40,000 staff and residents in long-terms care facilities getting their second dose.
Meanwhile, 25,000 frontline healthcare workers are due to get their first AstraZeneca dose this week.
Health officials have said they aim to have offered everyone over the age of 70 their first does by mid-May.
As of Thursday, a total of 261,073 vaccine doses had been administered in Ireland.
Just short of 90,000 people are fully vaccinated while 171,239 people have received their first dose.