Sinn Féin spokesperson on Health David Cullinane TD has called on the Minister for Health to publish more details on required staffing levels, vaccinator training and infrastructure plans for the mass rollout of Covid-19 vaccines to the wider population.
He has also called for a 7-day a week rollout in residential care facilities.
Teachta Cullinane said:
“We need to see much more detail on staffing requirements for delivering Covid-19 vaccines from the Minister for Health.
“We also need far clearer information on how many vaccinators will be needed, how many of them are being trained and how we will build capacity for a mass rollout of vaccines.
“There also remain concerns about the rollout in nursing homes, who are very anxious. The HSE has committed to a 7-day rollout, but schedules are still only for 5-days.
“These commitments need to be matched by revised timelines and a maximum rollout delivered on a full week basis.
“Staffing levels are a very real concern. Nobody has been hired specifically for rolling out the vaccine. All staff currently involved in the rollout come from existing public health and vaccination teams, as well as some redeployed volunteers from within the health service.
“The HSE are saying that 2,000 people are going through training at the moment, but it is unclear how many staff will be needed in the coming months, when they will be trained or where they will come from. We still have no number in terms of how many will be in place when supply starts to increase.
“We have absolutely got to be in a position to roll out the vaccine very rapidly when deliveries are large enough to begin mass vaccination.
“We also need more certainty about mass vaccination centres. So far, only one of fifteen sites has been identified and we have also yet to see how they will be staffed without adversely affecting the delivery of other healthcare services.
“GPs and pharmacists will play a clear role in the mass vaccination phase and they stand at the ready. They are waiting on the HSE. I welcome the commitment to engage with them very soon.”