HAPPY: John Cremin, a 95-year-old father and grandfather and resident at Killarney Community Hospital, was happy to be the first community hospital resident to receive the Pfizer BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine in Kerry from nurse Alan Horgan yesterday morning (Thursday). Photo: Don MacMonagle. Photo: Don MacMonagle

 

By Michelle Crean

A 95-year-old father and grandfather resident at Killarney Community Hospital was the very first community hospital resident to receive the Pfizer BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine in Kerry yesterday (Thursday).

John Cremin, who has been a resident at Killarney Community Hospital since 2013, said that he was “very glad” to get it, and is looking forward to a time when he can have visitors again.

“We haven’t been able to have visitors for a while now,” he said. “I’m not a bit worried about getting the vaccine, it’s good that it’s here.”

A team of staff at the facility were on hand to administer the first doses yesterday, which will continue again today (Friday) and tomorrow (Saturday) to approximately 200 staff and more than 90 residents.

VACCINE: Director of Nursing Máire Flynn was the first staff member at Killarney Community Hospital to receive the Pfizer BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine by nurse Elaine Moran yesterday morning (Thursday). Also included are the vaccination team members from left: Chandra Baialso, Celine Kavanagh, Elaine Sheehan, Teresa Kerins and Alan Horgan. Photo: Don MacMonagle

Director of Nursing Máire Flynn was the first staff member at Killarney Community Hospital to be vaccinated.

“I am delighted that we are receiving the vaccine, and so happy for our residents and our staff. We are so grateful to everyone who has made this happen, and so happy to be a part of this. Our residents are very excited, and are thrilled to be getting something that gives us all new hope for 2021. The important thing about these vaccinations is that they will help us to keep our residents safe.”

Elaine Sheehan is assistant director of nursing at Killarney Community Hospital, and part of the team of vaccinators who delivered the first vaccines. She said she’s delighted to be part of the team rolling out the vaccine and keeping residents safe.

“We’ve a busy few days ahead but it’ll all be worth it. It is just great to be at this point where we can begin to see some light at the end of the tunnel. People realised that we can’t continue to live like this. For staff, this is not just about ourselves, this is about protecting our residents.”

Everyone vaccinated was given a HSE vaccine information leaflet, along with more detailed manufacturer’s patient information leaflet, before getting the vaccine. Afterwards, each person vaccinated was given a vaccine record card, showing the name and batch of the vaccine they have received. They will each receive a second dose, to be fully protected, in three weeks.

This marks the beginning of Cork Kerry Community Healthcare’s vaccination campaign in residential facilities.

Throughout next week, the HSE says it expects to have teams travelling to more than 30 public and private facilities, 11 in Kerry and 22 in Cork and expects to vaccinate more than 3,500 staff and residents next week alone, and this programme will accelerate in the following weeks.

The HSE said that it aims to have made both doses of the vaccination available to all the staff and residents of such facilities by the end of February.