Kitty Owens, an 88-year-old resident at St Finbarr’s Community Hospital today became the first resident of a residential facility in Cork to be vaccinated against COVID-19.
She got the vaccine at the hospital, alongside other residents and healthcare workers from the residential unit.
Rose O’Leary, a staff nurse at St Finbarr’s Community Hospital and herself a peer vaccinator, was the first staff member to receive the vaccine there.
“It feels absolutely brilliant, at long last there is some light at the end of the tunnel. It’s not over, but there is hope there now,” she said.
Cork Kerry Community Healthcare vaccinators are carrying out vaccinations this weekend at St Finbarr’s in Cork city and Killarney Community Hospital in Kerry.
Rose said everyone at St Finbarr’s is thrilled that the vaccine rollout has begun.
“You’ve no idea how delighted we are," she said. "Our residents are our priority, and this vaccine will help us to keep them safe, it’s such a relief.
Rose is part of the team of vaccinators delivering the first vaccines today, tomorrow and Monday.
She said she’s delighted to be part of the team rolling out the vaccine and keeping residents safe.
“I’m very proud and relieved today because our residents feel like family to me," she said. "Without a doubt they come first, above all else."
Teams of vaccinators will offer the vaccine to more than 400 residents and staff.
Everyone vaccinated today was given a HSE vaccine information leaflet, along with detailed manufacturer’s patient information leaflet, before getting the vaccine.
Afterwards, each person vaccinated was given a vaccine record card, showing the name and batch of the vaccine they have received. They will each receive a second dose, to be fully protected, in three weeks.
Cork Kerry Community Healthcare’s vaccination campaign in residential facilities in Cork and Kerry began earlier this week at Killarney Community Hospital, and vaccinations continued there today also.
In accordance with the priority list for vaccination set out by the country, residents aged over 65 in long-term care are among the first to receive the vaccine.
A comprehensive vaccination programme across Cork and Kerry will see Cork Kerry Community Healthcare teams vaccinate residents and staff in more than 90 community hospitals and private nursing homes.
"Our teams will travel to private nursing homes and voluntary residential facilities, as well as co-ordinating the vaccination of residents and staff at the residential facilities we run across Cork and Kerry," a Cork Kerry Community Healthcare spokesperson said. "Our vaccinator teams will be giving vaccines at each of those locations on two occasions, three weeks apart."
Starting on Monday and continuing through the week, vaccination teams will carry out vaccinations at more than 30 public and private facilities in Cork and Kerry.
"We expect to vaccinate more than 3,500 staff and residents next week alone, and this programme will accelerate as vaccine deliveries arrive," the spokesperson said.
"While a provisional schedule of vaccination dates is in place, this schedule is subject to constant change.
"This is a tremendous undertaking and we thank all staff involved in getting vaccine delivered quickly and safely."