This week Community Healthcare Organisation Area 1 (Cavan, Donegal, Leitrim, Monaghan and Sligo) commenced the roll out of covid-19 vaccination to people under 65 years of age with a disability.
Persons in this group will include those who live at home or in residential care settings including community group homes, those who attend Disability day services, those who are in receipt of home support/personal assistant services and others with a disability who do not access disability specific services.
This week vaccinations took place in Sligo, Inishowen, Donegal and Castleblayney, Monaghan.
It is important that people with disabilities are supported to access information about COVID-19 vaccination by people who they know and trust. This may include their family, friends, advocates, key workers, support staff and/or member/s of the health and social care team (for example nurse, social worker, speech and language therapist, psychologist). This supports the person with a disability in making a decision to accept or refuse the vaccine. Adapting the information to match a person's communication needs in advance of them being offered the vaccine assists with the decision and to know what vaccination will involve. There are resources available to assist support staff to have these conversations including the HSE ‘Easy Read’ guide to the COVID-19 vaccination which can be accessed through the following link https://hse.drsteevenslibrary.ie/Covid19V2/immunisation
According to Cara O' Neill, Head of Health and Wellbeing and CHO 1 Covid-19 Vaccination Lead "People over 65 years with a disability have already received their vaccination and I am delighted we have now commenced the roll out to people under 65 years this week. People will be contacted and invited for vaccination over the next 4 weeks, no one will be left behind."
Edel Quinn, Head of Disability Services, CHO1, stated that "the further roll out of the COVID-19 vaccination programme to people with disabilities is very welcome and is an important development in protecting and supporting people with disabilities, their families and carers. The CHO1 Disability Services have a schedule developed which will ensure vaccination of people with disabilities under 65 years across the five counties of CHO1 - Cavan, Donegal, Leitrim, Monaghan, Sligo - over the next number of weeks. I would like to acknowledge the significant additional work undertaken by our staff in delivering the vaccination programme as soon as vaccine supplies allowed."
We continue to work on the roll out of the vaccine programme as quickly as possible, this is a large complex logistical operation and involves a massive team effort right across the entire health system, it also involves co operation and support from our interagency partners Gardai, County Councils, Defence Forces, Volunteer Centres, Order of Malta and community and voluntary agencies. To date vaccinations have been administered to older people living in residential care, all people over 65 years with a disability in residential care, all people over 65 with a mental health condition living in residential care, people living in congregated settings and all health care workers. GPs are continuing to vaccinate the over 85 years population with 80-84 years now being vaccinated in most areas.
Dedicated vaccination centres in Sligo, Letterkenny, Cavan and Monaghan are now administering vaccine to priority groups.
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