The rollout of Covid-19 vaccines will begin in nursing homes across the city and county on January 14.
A HSE spokesperson has explained why that date was chosen and said that for a vaccination programme to be successful, it’s not just a question of speed, it’s a question of safety
The first delivery of the COVID-19 vaccine was received by the HSE on December 26, and starting from December 29, the first vaccines in Ireland will be given to staff and patients at four acute hospital sites – St James’s Hospital, Cork University Hospital, Galway University Hospital and Beaumont Hospital.
Based on advice from National Immunisation Advisory Council, NIAC, and to instil the greatest degree of confidence in the programme, the first limited stock will be given to people in hospital settings, where medical teams can be on call on site, and we will then move forward to long-term care settings from next week.
From January 4, the programme will be further rolled out to long term residential care facilities for older people. This will be done, aligned with further and ongoing deliveries of the vaccine, over a 6 week rolling programme throughout all 582 nursing homes, public and private, all over the country. Our vaccinator teams will be giving vaccines at each of those locations, making two separate visits, three weeks apart.
For a vaccination programme to be successful, it’s not just a question of speed, it’s a question of safety. In providing this vaccine to residents in long term care, many of whom will be frail, older people, the HSE must adhere carefully to all safety processes associated with the vaccine.
Given that Ireland has approximately 580 nursing homes, 80% of which are privately owned, the vaccination of their residents is a highly complex process requiring the cooperation of all stakeholders.
Using centrally held information from serial testing in relation to staff and patient numbers, and, taking into account the required throughput per day, the HSE has issued a draft schedule to each HSE Community Health Organisation. This draft schedule facilitates the required three week cycle and ensures that both doses are administered in an efficient manner, leading to the completion of the entire 580 nursing homes (both doses) in February.
This was also shared with Nursing Homes Ireland to ensure that each provider understood specifically what is required from them. Each CHO will work with their local nursing home providers between now and next Thursday to finalise their schedules.
This will require each provider to assure themselves that they can register each staff member and resident who wishes to take the vaccine and collect the required 55 individual pieces of information on each person who wishes to be vaccinated several days before the vaccination team is due to arrive.
Each provider must also ensure that each staff member and each resident (and their families where appropriate) understand and give informed consent to the vaccine. Some providers will, understandably, be quicker than others to comply and the CHO schedule must retain the flexibility to take this into account as well as unforeseen events.
This must be an agile process but with a very clear and specific end date.
The target completion date for all 580 Public, Private and Voluntary Nursing Homes is February 28, bearing in mind that outbreaks may interrupt vaccination.
To find factual, up-to-date information about the COVID-19 vaccine see
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