Thursday, January 14, 2021

By Vivienne Clarke

Clinics to roll out a Covid-19 vaccine set up at a Dublin hospital on Wednesday had to be cancelled as doses of the vaccine did not turn up, according to a consultant who works there.

Infectious diseases expert Professor Jack Lambert, who works at the Mater Hospital, said only 50 per cent of the hospital’s staff had been vaccinated to date.

Speaking on RTÉ radio’s Today with Claire Byrne show, he criticised the Government’s roll-out of a vaccine and called for it to “put one person in charge” of the programme.

There had been lots of mixed messages and the vaccination programme was “a very confusing document,” he said.

Prof Lambert said he was receiving emails from GPs on the north side of Dublin, asking if they could get the vaccine from the Mater Hospital.

“We need someone to stand up and say ‘this is the plan’. It’s really important to get everyone on board with clarity and the plan,” he said.

Ten times ahead

At present, the professor said there was different information coming out every day concerning the vaccine. Ireland was behind in its programme while Denmark, a country with a similar population, was “way ahead of us” and the UK was “ten times ahead.”

There needed to be greater transparency about the roll-out of the vaccine, with a detailed map of the plan.

Details such as where the proposed mass vaccination sites will be located should be made public, he said.

It was not enough to say that GPs and pharmacists would be involved: “We need a detailed explanation about how it is going to be rolled out.”

It would require a very detailed plan to get four million people vaccinated, Prof Lambert said. “It’s going to be very challenging.”

It comes as the Government has said it expects that at least four million people in the State will be vaccinated against Covid-19 by the end of September.

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