Since the beginning of this global pandemic, people have struggled to find the words that could adequately express their current gloominess and help voice their hope for the brighter future.
One line from Seamus Heaney in particular seems to have captured this: “If we winter this one out, we can summer anywhere.”
With the arrival of the Covid-19 mRNA Pfizer vaccine to Mary Street Medical Centre this week, it feels as though spring, and the promise of light has also arrived.
Some 13,500 vaccination doses have been delivered to GP surgeries and to vaccination centres across the country, allowing us to start vaccinating and protecting those who are 85 years and over. Our practice began on Wednesday, February 17.
When we have been contacting our patients to arrange their vaccination appointment, we have been met by an overwhelming positive response, a massive sense of relief and cautious sense of hope, “this third lockdown has been especially hard on us”.
They are some of our most vulnerable patients and are among those who have suffered the most isolation and loss throughout this pandemic.
They spoke of the care they have received from family and friends over the past eleven months and the acts of kindness they have experienced; dropping in the daily paper, bringing a cat to the vet, picking up prescriptions and delivering groceries.
But they missed going to Mass, the day care centre (the pub!) and the chats and social interactions that go with these community hubs.
I have seen our own staff struggle within the pandemic. They have been scared at times, we all have been, but I am so proud of the hard work of all those in Mary Street Medical Centre and all other healthcare team members.
Day after day they showed exceptional care and kindness to each other and their patients. The frontline workers in Ireland don’t want to be applauded, they want to see the finish line, the light.
Different vaccine types with varying efficacy rates are being deployed across Ireland to different groups but it should be emphasized that there is strong evidence that all are effective in preventing severe illness, hospitalisations and death.
Over the next few weeks, we will work to deliver the vaccines to our patients in accordance with the HSE guidance.
It is hoped that all the over 70s cohort of patients will have received their first dose of the vaccine by April 1 and their second dose by the late April.
For more vaccination stories, see page 18