Very little vaccine available for additional frontline staff

Naas woman claims she suffered narcolepsy after receiving swine flu vaccine

The Saolta University Health Care Group which runs Sligo University Hospital (SUH) has been advised by the HSE that there is “very little vaccine available to give a first dose to additional frontline healthcare workers outside of residential care facilities until February”.

The Saolta Group run six hospitals across the West and North West of Ireland, providing acute and specialist hospital services.

Last week the vaccination programme for frontline workers at SUH came under scrutiny after Sinn Féin Justice spokesman and TD for Sligo/Leitrim, Martin Kenny raised concerns about the administration of the vaccine at the hospital.

Speaking before the Dáil, Deputy Kenny said he had written to the Chief Officer of the HSE in the area, following reports on how the Covid vaccine was being administered at SUH.

Sligo University Hospital

“According to health workers who have spoken to me, there are people who are on leave from work at the hospital, so not in contact with patients or staff at present, who are being called in to receive the first dose of vaccine,” Deputy Kenny said.

“Meanwhile, some frontline staff: health workers, care assistants, security, catering and cleaning staff, are still waiting for their first dose. There are also reports of administration staff and senior management receiving vaccination while frontline staff are waiting.”

However a statement issued from the Saolta Hospital Group stressed the vaccination programme at SUH is being rolled out in accordance with the Government's provisional vaccine allocation groups list.

“The Covid-19 vaccination programme for staff in Sligo University Hospital commenced on Wednesday, January 6 and over 680 vaccines were administered to hospital staff,” noted the Saolta statement.

“In the first instance the vaccine was offered to staff directly providing care to confirmed and suspect Covid-19 cases including ICU, the Emergency Department, Acute Assessment Unit and the Covid-19 wards. This includes support staff and clerical staff working in these areas also.

“The Covid-19 vaccination process requires people to get two doses. This means that most of the deliveries over the coming weeks will be used for the second dose needed to complete the vaccination course for those who received the first dose.

“We have been advised by the HSE nationally that there is very little vaccine available to give a first dose to additional frontline healthcare workers outside of residential care facilities until February.

“They have also advised us that when  the vaccination programme in residential care facilities is completed, vaccine supplies will be directed to frontline healthcare workers.”

Vaccine clinics will be scheduled according to the availability of the vaccine and all staff in the hospital will be offered the vaccine noted the statement.  

“The hospital vaccination team are also supporting administration of vaccines over the last week in Residential Care Facilities locally,” it was noted in conclusion.

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