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Ireland’s COVID-19 vaccination plan has been published; vaccines will be administered in three phases

DUBLIN: Ireland’s comprehensive COVID-19 vaccination program approved by the Cabinet has been published. Vaccination will be given in three phases: the initial roll-out, a mass ramp-up and open access.

Mass ramp-up can be started only after several doses are available. Immunizations are first available to those over 65 years of age who are in long-term care centers and to leading health professionals with direct patient contact.

Last week, the government had formulated a priority strategy on how to get the vaccine. Health Minister Stephen Donnelly, who announced the plan, said the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines would be given before the New Year if approved by the European Authority next week.

Vaccination Hubs

The Moderna and Astrazeneca vaccine will be available in early January 2021. The Curevac vaccine may be available in February. Then another vaccine from Sanofi/GSK will be available in July. Ireland has agreed to supply more than 14 million doses of various vaccines. The distribution strategy was developed by a high-level task force on the COVID-19 vaccination, led by former DCU president Professor Brian MacCraith.

The vaccine distribution plan will include oversight and monitoring of NPHET. Most of the vaccinations are given through vaccination hubs such as long-term care centers, hospitals, mass vaccination clinics, GP surgeries and community pharmacies. The services of retired doctors and health professionals will also be sought to assist the vaccination program. However, most of the work will be done by health care workers such as GPs, nurses and pharmacists.

Tallaght Hospital, St James’s and Beaumont (all Dublin), as well as Mayo General Hospital, Cavan General Hospital, Cork University Hospital and University Hospital Galway will be the major vaccine administration centers. Vaccines will also be given at community nursing units across the country. Mass vaccination centers will be located in the Citywest and the National Exhibition Centre in Cloghran. The use of university campuses as mass vaccination centers will also be considered.

The vaccination program is as follows:

The scheme explains that the members of the nominated groups will give their consent for vaccination through registration. The registration will be a comprehensive collection of information on all the contents, including previous vaccinations. They will then be given an appointment at a scheduled center. They’ll then receive their jab, and then be discharged after a 15-minute period. There will also be a portal on the Health Products Regulatory Authority (HPRA) website to report any side effects experienced after receiving the vaccine.

The ICT system is enabled to successfully complete each stage of vaccination. This ICT system will enable the planning and scheduling of immunizations. It will have a mechanism to monitor and evaluate the success and effectiveness of the program. All the facilities for this will be made available to HSE ICT Infrastructure before the end of the year.

HSE CEO Paul Reid said the vendor selection process for the IT system has been agreed between IBM and Salesforce. He said the cooperation of the Data Protection Commission has also been sought in this regard.

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