Home News Calls for mass Covid-19 vaccination centre to be established in Laois

Calls for mass Covid-19 vaccination centre to be established in Laois

Sinn Fein TD Brian Stanley says that mass vaccination centres need to be regionalised so that they can be accessible for everyone in the community.

According to the Laois TD, the government plans to establish 15 of these around the country.

But he says that there are 26 counties in the Republic of Ireland and there should be as many as possible – and at least one in Laois and Offaly.

He said: “There are issues I believe that will be a major factor in the vaccine rollout, and that is the importance of access for those in rural communities. There has been a commitment for 15 mass vaccination centres in the 26 counties.

“We need significantly more centres than what is currently planned for and that we will need at least one in Laois and one in Offaly.

“A significant challenge in the rollout process will be reaching communities, low income groups and rural areas.

“We need to make the process as accessible as possible so as to ensure that the uptake is high. The more localised we can make it, the better the uptake.

“Secondly, it’s good we have GP’s and pharmacies signed up and ready to go once the supply is there. However, we also need to maximise our vaccination teams through use of public health nurses, Army medics and using school vaccination teams during the summer.

“I would ask the Minister to consider this proposal. We need all hands on deck to ensure a speedy and efficient roll out of the vaccines.”

On the priority list, Deputy Stanley has made the case for three groups to receive greater prioritisation – carers, taxi drivers and undertakers.

He said: “I want to address the vaccination priority list. Of course, there are many competing groups who rightly feel that they should be prioritised due their role and their vulnerability.

“I appreciate there has to be a pecking order however, I want to address just three of the groups.

“First of all, family carers should really be higher up the pecking order. They do an important job and work with people in a very vulnerable position.

“Secondly, one group that has gone overlooked is taxi drivers who have a contract with the health sector.

“They transport patients between hospitals and also transport blood samples etc and interact with staff. Is the vaccination of these taxi drivers an area that the Minister has considered?

“The last group is Undertakers. They do a difficult job and interact with large numbers of people. Unfortunately, some of them have died with Covid.

“I am requesting that Government review the priority list and also provide more vaccination centres.”

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Stradbally native Alan Hartnett is a graduate of Knockbeg College who has worked in the local and national media since 2008. Alan has a BA in Economics, Politics and Law and an MA in Journalism from DCU. His happiest moment was when Jody Dillon scored THAT goal in the Laois senior football final in 2016.