Image by hakan german from Pixabay
HSE staff at vaccination and testing centres throughout Midlands Louth Meath have taken 106,000 swabs since February 2021 and have vaccinated over 65,000 people to date.
The Longford vaccination centre in Newtownforbes opened on May 6, with 5,365 people vaccinated to-date, 4,805 in May and 560 in June.
Mr Des O’Flynn, CHO Midlands Louth Meath, this week, paid tribute to the staff involved for their resilience, commitment and willingness to respond to what might have seemed unimaginable challenges only a short time ago.
"Over the past few months," he said, "staff have contributed in many different ways from creating the physical infrastructure, preparing each centre, administration and technical support to working as vaccinators and swabbers in testing centres. This fantastic co-operative effort has been duplicated for the vaccination programme with 8 Community Vaccination Centres (CVC’s) already operational across the CHO. We also want to acknowledge the great work of other statutory and voluntary organisations and their staff, for their ongoing support and assistance."
As registration for the 40-44 age group opened this week Mr O’Flynn urged all concerned to register for the vaccine to protect everybody’s health.
The vaccine uptake nationally is 99% in the over 80s, 95% in the 70-79 age group and over 90% in those aged 60 to 69.
Over Easter, rates of Covid-19 in the Midlands were high, particularly in Co Offaly. Thanks to the efforts of everyone in the community at that time, the numbers came down and are now holding steady.
"It would be great if we could keep it that way," according to Dr Una Fallon, Director of Public Health, Midlands.
Dr Fallon added, “As more and more of our community is vaccinated against COVID, it is important that we maintain these low rates of COVID by lifting restrictions slowly and carefully. We need a higher proportion of people vaccinated before we drop our guard.
“Some people are still vulnerable to and can still be potentially harmed by the virus. This week we would like to protect Leaving Cert students so that students who want to sit an exam can do so. It is important that primary school children remain at school until the end of June – they have had enough of their education disrupted – especially those with special education needs.
“Now is not the time to be complacent. We are not quite sure yet whether COVID variants of concern (VOCs), particularly the Delta variant (B.1.671.2), are going to be a problem in Ireland” she warned.
“There is so much we can still do and enjoy; we just can’t do everything.
“Please do not have big social gatherings INSIDE and please be incredibly careful outside – where you should still keep your distance.
“Shoulder to shoulder situations, in the presence of alcohol, outside or inside, are not a good idea.
“The basics still matter - clean hands, face coverings, distance from others, good ventilation – these measures will continue to protect those who are not yet vaccinated. If you have symptoms, isolate yourself and go for testing in one of the testing centres. You do not need an appointment.
“Most of all, when called for your vaccine, take the opportunity, and get vaccinated. You will not just be protecting yourself, you will be protecting others,” she concluded.
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