Kilkenny TD John Paul Phelan
Pharmacies will be a vital part of the vaccination rollout according to a local Fine Gael deputy who has raised the matter with the Minister for Health.
Deputy John Paul Phelan told The Kilkenny People that it is 'only fitting, proper and appropriate' that pharmacies will be central to the roll-out of the Covid-19 vaccine to the general public
"Pharmacies nationwide have remained open since Covid-19 first emerged and are a critical frontline service in providing medical information and support as well as medicines and other supplies to the general public - particularly elderly members of our community.
"Many are now offering additional delivery services at no extra charge, an addition which is critically important for elderly and vulnerable members of our community.
"Pharmacies have been involved in offering the flu vaccine for a number of years and it is only fitting, proper and appropriate that they will be central to the roll-out of the COVID vaccine to the general public, once the at-risk, priority categories are covered. A phased, thought-out approach is critical and this will be followed over the coming days, weeks and months. I have spoken to the Minister and he has told me that pharmacies will be a vital part of the vaccination rollout as the scheme develops," Deputy Phelan said.
The Kilkenny People is backing local pharmacies to deliver the Covid-19 vaccines to our communities and has started a petition backing local pharmacies to lead the charge.
Editor of the Kilkenny People Sam Matthews is urging people to get behind the campaign and ensure the vaccine rollout can be expedited in our communities: "We have already seen great scenes of optimism and hope at our local hospitals and nursing/care homes with the initial delivery of vaccines," he said.
"The small, committed team of vaccinators here are doing unbelievable work in making sure our most vulnerable are being protected. We think they and their work can be assisted by our many fantastic local pharmacies - which have remained open - if the political will to do it is there."
Brian Keyes, Editorial Operations Director for Iconic Newspapers, is also calling on people to get behind local pharmacies, and get the vaccine to local communities.
“Talking to all our editors, while Covid-19 is dominating news coverage, and will continue to do so, with a vaccine there is hope. But many believe that it could be done better, that we are lagging behind and want more information on what is happening. It is obvious why we need a vaccine. We now know what needs to be done. It’s all about the how and the when now,” said Mr Keyes.
“We need to put our communities front and centre in this roll out, and that means local pharmacies. They are still open, still there for locals, and they have a proven track record with administering the flu vaccine. Between pharmacists and GPs, 1.1 million flu vaccines have been administered since September last. They are trusted, and that’s important. They need PPE, they need to be informed and they need to lead the charge.
“We can’t be left behind, in particular our rural communities. In many villages, a pharmacy is one of the few places open, and it’s important for communities. The Astrazeneca vaccine will hopefully be here in a matter of weeks, but we need to plan now, we need to give people hope and the government needs to get our pharmacies involved right away.
“It’s the only thing people are talking about, and there is frustration when we see roll outs in other countries moving ahead at pace. We know what we can do here and the potential that pharmacies in particular have to the roll out is. We need to get back to meeting family and friends again, to playing together again, back to school, opening up our businesses again. Enjoying the simple pleasures. We have started a petition, calling for our pharmacies to lead the charge in getting this vaccine to our communities. You can comment on your newspapers facebook, or follow us on twitter - #bestshot.”