Ireland 'won't have enough vaccinators the way things are going', Kelly warns


Stephen McNeice
Stephen McNeice

11.57 25 Mar 2021


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Ireland 'won't have enough vaccinators' for the COVID-19 vaccination programme if the recruitment process doesn't change, the Labour leader was warned.

In the Dáil today, Deputy Kelly highlighted the coverage the issue has received on The Hard Shoulder this week.

Earlier this week, Graham Fry - founder and lead medical consultant at the Tropical Medical Bureau - expressed his frustration over the recruitment process.

He said it was a 'rigmarole' for well-qualified and experienced people to sign up to help out with the vaccine programme.

He said qualified doctors have to go through 'hoops' and 'hurdles' as part of the recruitment process.

Addressing the Health Minister in the Dáil today, Labour leader Alan Kelly pointed to The Hard Shoulder's coverage of the recruitment issues.

He said: "What is going on with the recruitment of vaccinators? We're heading into a critical period... we're now extending the deadline again.

“I have no clue why we can’t widen the criteria for vaccinators.

“I have no clue why we need birth certs, junior certs or any of these things.

"I have no clue while people who are professors, GPs, nurses and other retired specialists in healthcare can't administer vaccines."

He said a 'whole range of people' could be brought on board to help the rollout.

He argued: “We are not going to have enough vaccinators the way things are going, which would be criminal.”

'We can't afford any more problems'

Social Democrats co-leader Róisín Shortall also highlighted problems and complaints around the recruitment process.

She said some of the complaints have been around a 14-page application form, while other applicants say they've been 'repeatedly' asked the same questions.

Deputy Shortall said: "It's hard to see why on Earth there are these glitches in the recruitment process, but will you sort them out?

"We can't afford any more problems in this area."

Responding to Deputy Kelly's comments, Health Minister Stephen Donnelly says he too was concerned about some of the things he’s been hearing.

However, he said medical students already are part of the vaccination programme.

He said over 10,000 vaccinators have already been trained, and that number's continuing to grow.

He told Deputy Kelly to ‘rest assured’ the Government’s goal is for the team of vaccinators to be as big as it possibly can be.

Main image: Alan Kelly in the Dáil. Picture: Oireachtas TV

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Alan Kelly Roisin Shortall Stephen Donnelly The Hard Shoulder Vaccine

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