'Vaccine shambles': Rollout criticised as Cork GP appointments cancelled

'Vaccine shambles': Rollout criticised as Cork GP appointments cancelled

Sinn Féin TD for Cork North Central Thomas Gould said that he has been contacted by people on a daily basis who have had vaccine appointments cancelled “because their GPs have not received the expected amount” of vaccines.

As Cork City Hall’s Covid-19 vaccination centre opens today for the first time, a Cork TD has labelled the overall vaccine rollout as a “logistical shambles”.

Sinn Féin TD for Cork North Central Thomas Gould said that he has been contacted by people on a daily basis who have had vaccine appointments cancelled “because their GPs have not received the expected amount” of vaccines.

Meanwhile, Lord Mayor Councillor Joe Kavanagh has said “it’s about time” City Hall’s vaccination centre got up and running, almost two months after it was set up.

“In fairness to the HSE and Cork City Council, they did an absolutely magnificent job in setting up top-class facilities - it’s just down to the lack of vaccines really and I suppose that has led to an awful lot of frustrations,” he said.

The Lord Mayor said that members of the public had been approaching him and asking him when it would be operational and described the City Hall centre as “of critical importance” in vaccinating the people of Cork.

“It’s right smack in the city centre and it’s on a bus route so it’s easily accessible for everybody and as well as that, the City Hall is at the heart of our city and people of Cork take great pride in City Hall.”

The centre has been established as a joint project between the South/South West Hospital Group and Cork Kerry Community Healthcare and it will commence vaccination of frontline healthcare workers from today.

Gerry O’Dwyer, CEO South/South West Hospital Group , An Taoiseach Micheál Martin and Michael Fitzgerald, Chief Officer, Cork Kerry Community Healthcare . An Taoiseach Micheál Martin viewed ongoing work to transform part of Cork City Hall into a HSE Covid-19 vaccination centre for the public.
Gerry O’Dwyer, CEO South/South West Hospital Group , An Taoiseach Micheál Martin and Michael Fitzgerald, Chief Officer, Cork Kerry Community Healthcare . An Taoiseach Micheál Martin viewed ongoing work to transform part of Cork City Hall into a HSE Covid-19 vaccination centre for the public.

It will have 10 fully operational booths, which will see between 750 and 800 frontline healthcare workers, who have already received appointments, vaccinated. When fully operational and open to the public, the centre will have up to 30 booths and the capacity to vaccinate almost 17,000 people a week.

“It’s such a big facility and, once the momentum starts to build in terms of vaccination, once we can keep an adequate supply of vaccines flowing into City Hall, it will make a huge difference in terms of vaccination for the complete population of our city and county,” Mr Kavanagh added.

It comes as Tánaiste Leo Varadkar said there will be a drop in the expected number of vaccines, with fewer than a million doses of the vaccine to be delivered in April.

Last week, Stephen Donnelly, the health minister, told the Dáil that 1.1m doses were scheduled to be delivered over the next four weeks.

“I would like to get about a million a month through April, May and June, but it will be less than a million in April, more than a million in May and June,” Mr Varadkar said yesterday.

Sinn Féin TD for Cork North-Central Thomas Gould said: “We cannot have a situation whereby access to vaccination is based on a postcode lottery and not vulnerability.

“The vaccination of the over-70s, and the vulnerable in cohort four, must be fair and efficient. It would currently appear to be the luck of the draw.”

It comes as it emerged a Coombe hospital staff member took leftover Covid-19 vaccines to administer to relatives, an independent review has found.

Separately, an independent investigation into the Beacon Hospital in Dublin has been initiated after it emerged the private hospital used spare jabs to vaccinate teachers from an exclusive school.

Earlier this year, it was revealed that two relatives of staff at the Rotunda maternity hospital in the capital received Covid-19 vaccines, which it said would have been wasted otherwise.

Mr Gould said that, in the 12 months to plan for the rollout of the vaccine, the “IT systems should have been up to date, clear guidance should have been issued on surplus vaccines and people should now be able to lay their trust in the vaccine rollout”.

He added: “This has been an extremely difficult 12 months for ordinary people. They have struggled through lockdowns and are now seeing light at the end of the tunnel.”

Some 112,000 vaccines arrived in Ireland on Wednesday, which means the Government reached its projection of receiving 1.187m vaccines in the first quarter of the year.

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