Preparations are underway at a number of pharmacies in Cork that will begin administering Covid-19 vaccines in the coming weeks.
The Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly has announced that community pharmacies will commence administering Covid-19 vaccines this month.
The Minister's announcement follows intensive campaigning from the Irish Pharmacy Union to utilise the capacity and expertise of pharmacists.
Pat Dalton, the proprietor of Dalton’s Pharmacy on North Main Street, said his pharmacy will be among those involved and he welcomes the news.
“It is very welcome. It is good news. We were disappointed it didn’t come sooner. We can’t wait to get going,” he said.
The Cork pharmacist said that his pharmacy will be participating in the Covid-19 vaccination programme.
“Our pharmacy has been notified by the HSE that they want us to participate in the Covid vaccination programme. We haven’t got specific details on who we will be vaccinating. We don’t have any details on the vaccine we will be administering or when we will be administering them. It will help speed up the rollout and we are ready to go.
“It is a win-win for everyone. We have already identified a number of people in the community that need assistance and reassurance with getting the Covid vaccine. These people have been missed up to now. We are there to basically help with the uptake of the vaccine,” he added.
Mr Dalton said he hopes pharmacists will play a more ‘active role’ going forward.
“We would like to have our participation maintained. We don’t want to be on the periphery of the vaccine programme. We want to be actively involved in it going forward. The Covid-19 vaccination programme isn’t going to end when everybody is vaccinated. This is going to be an ongoing vaccination programme for the next few years. We want pharmacists to be in the middle of it,” he said.
McCauley's pharmacy will also support the Covid-19 vaccination rollout programme in Cork.
Three of their Cork centres have been selected by the HSE to act as Covid-19 vaccination centres.
These centres are located in Douglas Shopping Centre, Blackpool Shopping Centre and Fermoy Medical Hall.
Each will have the capacity for up to 200 vaccinations daily.
Shane O’Neill, Superintendent Pharmacist of McCauley said: “McCauley continues to play an important role in the communities in which we operate during the pandemic. We are delighted to play our part in the ongoing battle against Covid-19 and to get the country fully open in the coming period.”
IPU Secretary General Darragh O’Loughlin also welcomed the Minister’s announcement: “We are pleased that many of Ireland’s 1,800 community pharmacies will now finally be included in this vital public health effort. As the pace of the vaccine rollout continues to increase the inclusion of community pharmacies will significantly affect the country's administration capacity.
“Utilising community pharmacies will allow many people the option of receiving their vaccines in their local community. This will eliminate the need for potentially long trips to vaccine centres and allow for a more convenient and efficient experience for the recipients,” he said.
Mr O’Loughlin hopes pharmacists will be able to start administering vaccinations very soon.
“Pharmacists are trained, experienced and ready to start vaccinating in every town, village and community around the country. We eagerly await the formal details from the HSE that we hope will allow pharmacy vaccinations to start without any further delay,” he said.