Cabinet ministers last month gave the go ahead for pharmacists and GPs across the country to administer the Covid-19 vaccine.
The ¤91 million deal approved will allow doctors and pharmacists o start administering the vaccine as early as this month to vulnerable groups.
The news came after numerous local community pharmacies signed up to the #bestshot campaign which was initiated by the Leinster Leader and KildareNow to fast-track Covid-19 vaccines to local pharmacies. People are being urged to sign a petition on the issue which will be delivered to the Minister for Health, Stephen Donnelly so the people of Kildare can let the government know that they believe that the vaccine should be delivered straight to local communities, through local pharmacies.
Joan Kilgallon from Burkes Pharmacy in Naas told the paper, “Pharmacists who manage the medications for at risk groups, are ideally positioned to identify and vaccinate these vulnerable members of our society.
“Pharmacists currently provide 13% of all flu vaccinations. Since pharmacists first started vaccinating in 2011, flu vaccine deliveries through the National Immunisation Office (NIO) have increased overall by 29% and, within that, deliveries to GPs are up 8%, demonstrating that when pharmacists vaccinate, public awareness increases, and vaccination rates increase through all channels.
“However, we need a vaccination roll out to be in place, ahead of EU vaccine authorisation, so that we are positioned to start the vaccination administration. To date, we have no information on roll out, and cannot advise our customers, of the expected vaccine date.”
Endorsing the Leinster Express BestShot petition campaign backing the role of pharmacists in Laois in protecting the public through vaccination was Liz Dalton of Kilminchy pharmacy in Portlaoise.
She said vaccination at pharmacies is set to begin in March and is planning for a seven-day week vaccination campaign. Minister for Health brought the deal to cabinet which will see a payment of ¤60 for each patient vaccinated made to members of the Irish Medical Organisation and the Irish Pharmacy Union. It expected that doctors and pharmacists will be administering the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine as it does not need to be held at as low a temperatures as other vaccines.
Taoiseach Micheal Martin said, “The vaccination programme is progressing well, with targets to date exceeded. The volume of vaccines available to us will ramp up in time ahead. “There will be bumps in the road, but we need to stay focussed. In the meantime, stay home, wash your hands, minimise contacts. Be Safe.”
However IPU Secretary General Darragh O’Loughlin says that now it is essential that pharmacy staff themselves can now be vaccinated without delay.
“Pharmacists, as with anyone giving the vaccine, must be vaccinated themselves in order to do so safely. People using pharmacy services, especially medically vulnerable patients, deserve the assurance that their pharmacist and pharmacy team have been vaccinated. Any further delays in vaccinating pharmacists could severely impact the pace of the national rollout.”