Seanad debates

Monday, 29 March 2021

Covid-19 Vaccination Programme: Statements

 

10:30 am

Photo of Seán KyneSeán Kyne (Fine Gael)

I did not hear the earlier comments as I was, and still am, on a Zoom call. I take this opportunity to congratulate the Minister on the progress made on vaccinations thus far. As of yesterday evening, 548,948 individuals have received their first dose and 211,223 have received their second dose. There are very important projections on the number of vaccines that will be available for distribution in the month of April, which are up to 250,000 a week. It is very important that we meet those targets and continue to do so in May and June.

There have been issues, some of which I have raised with the Minister, Paul Reid and others at the Joint Committee on Health. I acknowledge that they have been largely sorted. This includes the issue of the over-70s in hospital who were not getting their vaccinations but they are now, after some cajoling. I am thankful the Minister got that sorted. A number of other matters, including GPs not getting their first supply initially, have been rectified as well.

I agree with the Minister's action on the Beacon. Those involved in the Beacon decision were absolutely tone deaf to where we are at present. That is all I will say on it. When we, as public representatives, are advocating on behalf of people such as gardaí, special needs assistants, SNAs, teachers and others in society, it is so wrong that there was queue skipping of that order. I have spoken before about the situation on the islands. The over 70s have largely received their first, and in some cases their second, dose. There are some queries about whether all of the other residents will be vaccinated on the islands. Will the supplies be transported to the islands or will all other residents have to come in from the islands to get their vaccination? I argue that the former should take place and similar to what happened with the over 70s, all others on the island should get their vaccination on the island itself.

The next phase is the mass vaccination across the country. We need to ensure this will work smoothly. We need to have a pipeline of individuals. We need to ensure that if there are extra vaccines available of an evening that there can be an orderly queue of people who can receive it at short notice. I thank the Minister and commend him on the progress made to date.

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