Jack Quann
Jack Quann

11.54 8 Mar 2021


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One Dublin pharmacist says she expects to be called on in the next five to six weeks to administer coronavirus vaccines locally.

Former TD Kate O'Connell told Pat Kenny she and others are currently being trained to administer all different types of vaccines.

"We would hope, although we're very low on information at the minute, that we will be called within the next five to six weeks - when hopefully the Johnson & Johnson shot arrives into community pharmacy.

"But at the minute, the likes of myself, experienced vaccinators, we're hoping in the next week or two that we will be called to go to mass vaccination centres - like Citywest or the Aviva - and we will be part of the national rollout until it comes into community pharmacy."

It is believed the one shot Johnson & Johnson drug could be given the green light by the middle of this month.

Supply

Ms O'Connell said supply is the main reason other drugs, like AstraZeneca, are not being administered in a community pharmacy setting.

"There's no reason why these cannot be done in the community pharmacy - but as [HSE CEO] Paul Reid has said, and continuously said, our issue at the minute is we don't have the supply.

"It's not like there are fridges of vaccine sitting around Ireland that haven't been deployed, the problem at the minute is we just don't have the supply to ramp up the delivery.

"Some of us were a bit anxious earlier last week because those of us that are operating pharmacies really hadn't got enough information.

"But as the week moved on, we're now being trained online to administer all the different types of vaccines, we're being interviewed at the minute - so really it's kicking off.

"It is regrettable I suppose, I would have thought this would have been done perhaps earlier, but I do expect that we will be ready - that once the supplies ramp up - that it will be delivered".

Herd immunity targets

But Ms O'Connell said it is "frustrating" to see the major deployment of vaccines in the UK, suggesting we are "envious" of vaccine figures there.

"If we ramp things up like the UK, and we maximise the vaccinators we have and we get them into the arms of the people that's where we need to go.

"But I would just be a little bit concerned that in three months' time it's not going to be an argument of supply: the argument will be about how do we get from 60% to 80%.

"It's always going to be the last chunk of people that are the most difficult to get to.

"And if we don't get to 80/85%, or whatever NIAC say as the target amounts for herd immunity, this whole exercise will be relatively pointless if we don't actually get to herd immunity and get those final 20% or 30% of people vaccinated".

Pharmacists hope to be called on 'in the next five weeks' to administer vaccines

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Dr Marie Scully, who practices in Navan, Co Meath, last week told Newstalk she was frustrated with a lack of communication from the Health Service Executive (HSE).

She said some practices have had no communication "despite constant ringing and e-mailing.

"It's really frustrating".

She said there is a dedicated HSE e-mail for GPs on vaccines "but when you e-mail you get no response at all".

And she said a subsequent dedicated vaccine phone line "either that doesn't answer, or you get somebody answering who says 'We'll take your details and ring you back' and they never ring you back.

"We can plan anything once we know what's happening, but to be left in limbo or in the dark and not know how many vaccines we're going to get, when we're going to get them is really frustrating", Dr Scully added.

Main image: Kate O’Connell launches legislation to crack down on advertising of false cancer cures in 2018. Picture by: Leah Farrell/RollingNews.ie

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AstraZeneca Citywest Johnson & Johnson Kate O'connell Mass Vaccination Centres Pat Kenny Pharmacists Vaccines Vaccines In The Community

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