COVID-19 Vaccinations Begin At Kerry Residential Facilities

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John Cremin, from Knocknagree, a 95-year-old father and grandfather resident at Killarney Community Hospital, was the first community hospital resident to receive the Pfizer BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine in Kerry on Thursday morning. He is pictured with Director of Nursing M‡áire Flynn who was the first staff member at Killarney Community Hospital to be vaccinated. Photo: Don MacMonagle.

A 95-YEAR-OLD father and grandfather resident at Killarney Community Hospital, has become the first resident of a residential facility in Kerry to be vaccinated against COVID-19.

John Cremin received the vaccine today at Killarney Community Hospital alongside other residents and  healthcare workers from the residential unit.

John, originally from Knocknagree in Cork, has been a resident at Killarney Community Hospital since 2013.  He says he is looking forward to a time when he can have visitors again.

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“We haven’t been able to have visitors for a while now. I’m not a bit worried about getting the vaccine, it’s good that it’s here. I’m very glad to be getting my vaccine today, it’s not something that happens every week.”

Director of Nursing Máire Flynn was the first staff member at Killarney Community Hospital to be vaccinated.

“I am delighted that we are receiving the vaccine, and so happy for our residents and our staff. We are so grateful to everyone who has made this happen, and so happy to be a part of this. Our residents are very excited, and are thrilled to be getting something that gives us all new hope for 2021. The important thing about these vaccinations is that they will help us to keep our residents safe.”

Elaine Sheehan is assistant director of nursing at Killarney Community Hospital, and part of the team of vaccinators delivering the first vaccines today. She said she’s delighted to be part of the team rolling out the vaccine and keeping residents safe.

“We’ve a busy few days ahead but it’ll all be worth it. It is just great to be at this point where we can begin to see some light at the end of the tunnel. People realised that we can’t continue to live like this. For staff, this is not just about ourselves, this is about protecting our residents.”

Elaine added that staff and residents received literature about the vaccine over the last few days.

“Anyone with any questions has been able to talk to myself and the other peer vaccinators. We’re constantly communicating with people, supporting and reassuring them.”

Vaccinations will continue at Killarney Community Hospital today, tomorrow and into Saturday as vaccinators work to offer the vaccine to approximately 200 staff and more than 90 residents.

Everyone vaccinated today was given a HSE vaccine information leaflet, along with more 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.

This marks the beginning of Cork Kerry Community Healthcare’s vaccination campaign in residential facilities in Cork and Kerry. 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.

The comprehensive vaccination programme across Cork and Kerry will see Cork Kerry Community Healthcare teams vaccinate residents and staff at more than 125 locations.

The 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 they run across Cork and Kerry.

The vaccinator teams will be giving vaccines at each of those locations on two occasions, three weeks apart.

Throughout next week (ie January 11th onwards), they expect to have teams travelling to more than 30 public and private facilities in Cork and Kerry (22 in Cork and 11 in Kerry) and expect to vaccinate more than 3,500 staff and residents next week alone. This programme will accelerate in the following weeks.

While a provisional schedule of vaccination dates is in place, this schedule is subject to constant change. However, the HSE can confirm that they aim to have made both doses of the vaccination available to all the staff and residents of such facilities by the end of February.

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