Written answers

Thursday, 18 February 2021

Department of Health

Vaccination Programme

Photo of Carol NolanCarol Nolan (Laois-Offally, Independent)
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305. To ask the Minister for Health if it is possible for residents and or citizens of Ireland to travel to Northern Ireland for receipt of the Covid-19 vaccine; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9272/21]

Photo of Stephen DonnellyStephen Donnelly (Wicklow, Fianna Fail)
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The administration of and access to vaccines in Northern Ireland fall under the jurisdiction of the Northern Irish authorities.

SI No. 701 of 2020, as amended, provides that a person whose place of residence is in the State may not leave their place of residence without reasonable excuse. A non-exhaustive list of reasonable excuses is contained within the SI. Leaving a place of residence without reasonable excuse is subject to penal provisions under section 31A of the Act of 1947.

Photo of Aodhán Ó RíordáinAodhán Ó Ríordáin (Dublin Bay North, Labour)
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306. To ask the Minister for Health the policy for general practitioners to make arrangements to use local community centres for vaccination purposes; the origin of the policy; if the policy is open for review; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9273/21]

Photo of Stephen DonnellyStephen Donnelly (Wicklow, Fianna Fail)
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In the context of the recent decisions with regard to the use of mNRA vaccines for over 70s (Cohort 3) the HSE worked closely with the IMO, as the representative body for General Practice, on developing an alternative approach and plan to ensure safe and effective distribution and administration of the vaccine as early as possible to over 70s.

The plan having been agreed with the IMO was incorporated in the overall HSE operational model and guidance which was developed through a collaborative process involving a working group with senior HSE clinical and management input together with IMO and ICGP representation.

Having regard to the clinical and operational parameters involved, following discussion with the IMO, three distribution models were agreed. In the majority of circumstances patients will be vaccinated at their own GP surgery – however arrangements have also been made for a number of GP Vaccine Clinics e.g. Helix, DCU and CIT in Cork. Arrangements have also been made for a buddy up system where some practices will partner together in delivering to their patients over 70.

This model has been effectively deployed in collaboration with the IMO and general practice to proceed with the vaccination of the cohort of over 70s, which commenced with the over 85s from early this week, with GPs inviting those aged over 85 to come forward for vaccination.

Due to the clinical, operational and logistical exigencies and given the nature of the vaccine there are a range of transportation, storage, delivery and security considerations around the vaccines which have been taken into account and which require the vaccines to be delivered within the model as set out if we are to be in a position to assure consistently safe and effective distribution and administration of the vaccine. In this context it has not been possible to facilitate the accommodation of requests for deployment of vaccination clinics in local halls and centres notwithstanding the recognition of the motivation and good intentions of all involved.

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