RELIEF; Nurse Sadie Evans gives the COVID-19 vaccine to Advance Paramedic Ken O’Sullivan from Killarney at University Hospital Kerry on Tuesday. Photo: Don MacMonagle

EXCLUSIVE

By Michelle Crean

Advanced Paramedic and Killarney man Ken O’Sullivan was one of the first frontline staff in Kerry to receive the first dose of the new COVID vaccine in University Hospital Kerry on Tuesday.

Nurse Sadie Evans administered the vaccine which was a relief to Ken who is living in Woodlawn and originally from St Anne’s Road.

Working 20 years as a paramedic – this has been the hardest year he has ever experienced, with each call out a potential risk of contracting COVID which he feared he could pass on to his wife Margaret and three young daughters.

“It’s been a very long year in a way, but with the vaccines now it’s something new,” Ken, who said he felt no side effects afterwards, told the Killarney Advertiser.

“You feel like you’re turning a corner. I had my mind made up that I was going to take it, especially when you see COVID damage and its effects afterwards. At the moment it looks like it’s our only way out of this, but until you get the full vaccine you have to be careful.”

Ken and a team of health care workers set up the first COVID testing centre in Kerry, which was later handed over to Public Health.

And, although their role is right on the frontline whether COVID related or not, he added that ambulance crew across the county have been very lucky throughout the pandemic.

“No member of the ambulance service in Kerry have tested positive for COVID thankfully.”