Thursday, 27 May 2021
Covid-19 Vaccine Roll-out: Statements
I welcome the fact that the Minister has put on record that half of all adults in this country will have received a vaccination by the end of this week. However, as the previous contributor said, vaccinations in Louth and Meath have been something of a postcode lottery. Dublin and the rest of the country have streaked ahead in terms of the vaccination of those aged between 50 and 69 years of age. The cohorts of 50 to 59-year-olds and 60 to 69-year-olds in Louth and Meath have been left behind.
I have worked day and night, particularly over the past few days, to persuade the HSE to get on top of this. I got a call on Tuesday evening from local HSE officials telling me that an additional 10,000 Johnson & Johnson jabs would be made available and that those who have been left hanging over the past couple of weeks, some of whom registered in April or early May, will be vaccinated by the middle of next week. However, it is scandalous that almost 1,000 of them are over 60 and some of them have been waiting for a vaccination since the middle of April. This is basic planning. We know how many 50- to 69-year-olds there are in Louth and east Meath. We know what the fix is. Can the Minister put on the record precisely what went wrong? Is it because the centre I had to secure in the Drogheda Institute of Further Education is understaffed and only operating three days a week? I must add that Drogheda is Ireland's largest town. Is it a staffing problem? We welcome the belated solution but can the Minister guarantee that the people who the HSE has stated will be vaccinated by the middle of next week will be vaccinated? Can he also guarantee that the 40- to 49-year-olds in the area who are now registering will be vaccinated at the same time as everybody else their age in this country?