WHAT IT LOOKS LIKES: Preparation works are well underway at Killarney Vaccination Centre located at Killarney Sports and Leisure Centre. Photo: Domnick Walsh

By Michelle Crean

 

Work to prepare Killarney Sports and Leisure Centre as a vaccination centre for the south Kerry area are well underway this week. As our photo shows, a number of booths have been set up but the centre will not be operational until the availability of vaccine increases.

The centres, which includes a second in Tralee at the Munster Technological University in Dromtaker, are at varying stages of development and will be ready well in advance of receipt of the vaccine supply, which, based on current information, vaccine supply for the country is forecast to reach a peak in Quarter 2 2021, the HSE said this week.

“The centres vary in size and their operating hours will be based on vaccine supply and catchment area needs. They will run on an appointment-only basis. Identifying, equipping and staffing these vaccination centres is a considerable undertaking, and we would like to sincerely thank all of the staff who are working so hard to make these vital centres a reality in a short space of time. The work of our staff means that these vaccination centres will be available to vaccinate large numbers of people as soon as vaccine supplies allow.”

PRIORITY GROUPS

Several other priority groups have to be vaccinated before they reach the stage of vaccinating the population at large.

GPs across the country are this week beginning the vaccination of their patients aged 85 and over, as part of the vaccination of the over-70s age-group.

Vaccines were administered at Deenagh Torc Medical Practice, Reeks Gateway on Wednesday.

However, other local GPs have ordered their supplies but are yet to receive them.

“We are very excited to start giving the vaccine to our patients. We have all ordered COVID-19 vaccines,” Dr Laura Malone from Killarney GP Medical Centre said. “The decision was made by the HSE to give vaccines to 84 practices initially. We have no vaccine yet due to the fact that there is a shortage of supply at present. We will be getting our supply over the next few weeks. We have already contacted all our over 85-year-old patients to get them ready. Unfortunately the initial rollout is slow but hopefully with more vaccine and single dose vaccines available things will move quickly once we have supplies.”

The HSE added that patients do not need to register for vaccinations in advance.

“When we move forward to begin vaccinating the next priority groups, the HSE will use news, public notices, advertising, social media, partner organisations to alert people that it’s their turn to come forward.”