The mass vaccination of healthcare workers is up and running at the racecourse in Ballybrit, with 2,200 expected to receive the vaccine by day’s end yesterday.
Healthcare staff from Galway University Hospitals, Community Healthcare West and staff from agencies funded by the HSE are now being provided with their COVID-19 vaccine at the racecourse.
This programme to vaccinate healthcare workers will continue in the coming weeks, giving time to identify and fix any issues that arise before the vaccination programme is expanded to the wider public in the weeks and months ahead.
Jean Kelly, who has operational responsibility for the Vaccination Centre at Ballybrit said on Tesday, “We began vaccinating here in the racecourse last Thursday and by this evening we expect to have vaccinated 2,200 healthcare staff.”
“We had been carrying out healthcare worker vaccinations on site in University Hospital Galway but we moved that centre to the racecourse on Thursday last.
“We will continue to administer first and second doses of the COVID-19 vaccine to healthcare staff including hospital staff, community staff and other healthcare workers.”
“As of this week, across the Saolta Group, we are in the process of developing Vaccination Centres which will ultimately be used to deliver the vaccination programme to the wider public.”
The vaccination work here is currently being undertaken by staff from Galway University Hospitals, Portiuncula University Hospital and Community Healthcare West, with more staff being recruited to bring it to the wider public.
The Defence Forces have also been assisting in the set up of the vaccination centre.
Breda Crehan Roche, Chief Officer of Community Healthcare West said that they are currently finishing up giving the vaccine to residents of long-term residential care facilities.
“I want to acknowledge the commitment of all the teams who worked so hard often 12 hours a day, over seven days a week, to ensure that vulnerable older people are protected.”
“While the ongoing vaccination roll-out is really positive, COVID-19 continues to be transmitted in our community and we all need to stick to the public health guidelines.”
Tony Canavan, CEO of the Saolta Group added, “This will be the single largest vaccination programme ever undertaken in the Irish State and it will require huge co-operation across the health services, and across a range of state agencies.”
“To date we have been somewhat limited by the availability of vaccine. We expect that to change over the coming weeks. We currently have access to three different vaccines and expect others to come on stream.”
“We are also conscious of the needs of people living in more remote locations including offshore islands and the more peripheral parts of our region and I want to assure the community that we will be flexible to make sure that everyone can get this vaccine as quickly and as efficiently as possible.”