The three vaccination centres in the Mid-West that form the local component of the national Covid-19 Vaccination Programme are at an advanced stage of completion, and will be ready for opening to the general public in the next few weeks.
Under the joint governance of UL Hospitals Group and HSE Mid-West Community Healthcare, centres have been developed for Limerick (Radisson Blu Hotel, Ennis Road); Clare (West County Hotel, Ennis); and Tipperary (Abbey Court Hotel, Nenagh).
The centre at the Radisson Blu Hotel, Ennis Road, has been opened for the vaccination of healthcare workers since last Wednesday, also serving as an operational dry-run to ensure maximum efficiency of the facilities when they open in the coming weeks.
A significant amount of work has been undertaken by UL Hospitals Group, HSE Mid-West Community Healthcare and HSE Estates to ensure that these centres are ready to provide a safe and efficient vaccination process for the public when they fully open.
HSE Estates has overseen significant contracting work to progress the extensive fit-out works that have been required to reconfigure all three venues.
The maximum booth capacities for the three centres are 30 in the Radisson Blu Hotel, 20 in the West County Hotel, and 15 in the Abbey Court Hotel.
"When all three centres are operating at maximum capacity, our vaccinator teams will be able to deliver a collective total of up to 6,000 doses of vaccine per day," said a spokesperson.
The official opening dates for the centres will be finalised in the context of vaccine supply, clinical prioritisation and sequencing, and recruitment for the multi-disciplinary teams required to provide the service, and which will include vaccinators, pharmacists, administration, ICT and support staff.
"In terms of recruitment, we are pleased with the extremely positive response from staff from within the hospital and community health services locally who wish to play their part in the vaccination campaign. So that provision of existing healthcare services can continue, a recruitment campaign has been launched nationally to source candidates not currently working in healthcare, including: retired doctors, GPs and nurses; former school nurses; retired HSE and private pharmacists; public and private physiotherapists; emergency medicine personnel through the Pre-Hospital Emergency Care Council and private providers; residual numbers from ‘Be On Call for Ireland’; private occupational health personnel; personnel from non-HSE funded health entities; and Department of Social Protection recruitment, as well as the Defence Forces and individual offers of assistance," they added.
For staff already working as vaccinators, specialist training has been provided by the HSE through the National Immunisation Office (NIO) and the Office of the Nursing and Midwifery Services Director (ONMSD).
A training programme is also being delivered for new vaccinators (physiotherapists and optometrists), while there has been a very encouraging response to the vaccine-specific training available for all disciplines on the HSE’s online learning and development portal HSELanD.
Registered healthcare professionals including doctors (IMC), nurses & midwives (NMBI), pharmacists (PSI), physiotherapists (CORU), paramedics, advanced paramedics & emergency medical technicians (PHECC), registered optometrists (CORU) and registered dentists (Dental Council of Ireland) or other regulated healthcare professionals approved to vaccinate can apply for either full-time, part-time or flexible hours.
Further information and online application is accessible via www. hbsrecruitmentservices.ie/ vaccinators. Enquiries to: 061-588590.
Prof Paul Burke, UL Hospitals Group’s Chief Academic Officer and the Group Lead for the Mid-West Vaccination Centres, said: “We are delighted to be part of this national mobilisation and this drive to vaccinate the population is truly historic. Staff at UL Hospitals Group and HSE MidWest Community Healthcare have been to the fore in recent weeks in vaccinating the most vulnerable members of our population in our nursing homes. This has given everybody concerned great hope and added motivation to continue with the vaccination programme. The response of all stakeholders to date has been hugely encouraging.”
Anne Ryan, Mid-West Community Healthcare Covid-19 Vaccination Lead, Head of Health and Well-Being said: “We are looking forward to working with the wider community in the Mid-West region in the provision of this vital immunisation programme. Leading out on the Vaccination programme for Residential Care Facilities across the Mid-West since early January has provided significant learning. The last 12 months have been difficult and demanding for all. We now look forward to the mass rollout of the vaccine which offers hope for a better future and a safe and healthy 2021.”
Joe Hoare, Assistant National Director Estates said: “A standard template has been developed for these centres and the space requirement is very significant to accommodate the registration desks, vaccination booths and observation areas, along with all the ancillary spaces needed to cater for the throughput that can hopefully be achieved once the vaccines become available in sufficient quantities. We also had to consider the significant traffic management issues and the availability of car parking. We are grateful for all the sites offered as vaccination centres and hope that these centres in use will aid the acceleration of the overall vaccination programme for the general public along with the other vaccination options available such as through GP practices.”