HSE identifies vaccination venues for over 70s as new plans finalised

Hse Identifies Vaccination Venues For Over 70S As New Plans Finalised
Healthcare worker administering a Covid vaccine. Photo: PA Wire/PA Images
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Plans to vaccinate people over the age of 70 at large GP surgeries, primary care centres and dedicated vaccination facilities from mid-February are being finalised by the HSE.

This comes after the decision to use only the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines for older people, rather than the AstraZeneca shots which are more easily stored.


Despite the changes to the HSE's original programme, the Tánaiste has claimed vaccination targets should still be met by the end of March.

According to The Irish Times, a source said the HSE has been working on a "total re-tooling" of the vaccination plan for the over 70s.

The HSE's chief clinical officer Dr Colm Henry said using the GP network was an intention of the HSE as they have a "reach" into every home in the country through "every highway and byway".

Speaking to Newstalk Breakfast, Dr Henry said it would not be possible to put a vaccine freezer into every GP surgery, which was why the HSE was looking at establishing GP hubs.


This may mean GPs with smaller numbers of patients will travel to bigger GP surgeries, while considerations are also being made for people living in areas with lower population densities and whether transport must be provided.

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Dr Henry said there was a "tricky end point" about people living in remote areas who would find it difficult to get to a hub to receive the vaccine. "We want to roll out the vaccine to everybody from Inishowen to Wexford," he said.

Despite the potential delays to vaccines for over 70s, it is expected there will be faster progress in vaccinating the remaining healthcare workers and people under 70 with chronic illnesses who can receive the AstraZeneca shots.

The first delivery of the latest vaccine approved by the European Medicines Agency (EMA) is due to arrive in the State next week after Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly signed the authorisation for its use here on Thursday.

According to the latest vaccination figures from the HSE, updated on January 3rd, 152,200 people have now received their first dose of the vaccine, while 67,000 have received their second dose.

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