Covid-19 vaccine: Surprise as nursing home roll-out delayed

ireland
Covid-19 Vaccine: Surprise As Nursing Home Roll-Out Delayed Covid-19 Vaccine: Surprise As Nursing Home Roll-Out Delayed
Tadhg Daly, © PA Media
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By Cate McCurry, PA

There can be no further room for slippages or delays in delivering the Covid-19 vaccination programme to nursing homes, Nursing Homes Ireland (NHI) has said.

The first roll-out of the vaccine in care homes was due to start on Monday, however it was delayed due to issues with consent forms.

Tadhg Daly, chief executive of NHI, said he was surprised the first doses of the vaccine were not given on Monday as planned.

Health staff were due to go to Hollybrook Lodge and Raheny Community Nursing Unit in Dublin.

“There are many nursing homes across the country that are ready, willing and able for the vaccine,” he said.

“An IT system was supposed to be developed for the administration of the vaccine, a bit like the flu vaccine one, but what we are seeing at the moment is a paper exercise.”

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On Tuesday, Taoiseach Micheál Martin said that more than 135,000 people will be vaccinated with two doses of the Covid-19 vaccine in Ireland by the end of February — including 75,000 people in long-term care facilities.

Rescheduled roll-out

The roll-out of the vaccine programme in nursing homes will begin this week, with around 16 care homes to receive the jab on Thursday.

HSE boss Paul Reid has said that doses of the vaccine will be given seven days a week.

 

The NHI, which is the representative body for private nursing homes, issued guidance to all its members based on the HSE national consent policy.

“Our members are engaging with residents and staff and making sure they have the relevant information, and can make an informed decision themselves,” Mr Daly said.

“Because of the high level of discourse around Covid and the vaccination programme we are hopeful there will be a high take-up.

“When I spoke to colleagues in Northern Ireland and Scotland, they are saying that some 90 per cent of residents will take it and more than 70 per cent of their staff will.”

Mr Daly said that many of its members are ready to receive the vaccine, adding that there is rising concern over the high levels of coronavirus transmission in the community.

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“We know that if there is a high level of transmission in the community, that affects all healthcare settings, both acute settings and nursing homes,” Mr Daly added.

“The sector has been vigilant throughout but we are back on hyper-vigilance and that’s why the vaccination programme needs to be expedited.

There can be no further slippage or delays in getting it out to nursing homes

“They are fearful of having an outbreak – it’s hugely concerning for our members.

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“The vaccine programme needs to be safe and effective, so there can be no further slippage or delays in getting it out to nursing homes.”

NHI repeated its calls for the Department of Health to allow nursing home residents to nominate a visitor that would receive the Covid-19 vaccine.

Mr Daly said that would allow the nominee to visit their relative or friend at the care home once they receive the jab.

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