Initial low volume delivery of first vaccines could arrive before New Year

Official engagement commenced with GPs to work on detailed process with HSE

Dr Lorraine Nolan, HPRA
It is possible a preliminary round of vaccination might start prior to the New Year, posited Health Minister, Stephen Donnelly, following Cabinet sign off this early morning (Tuesday December 15) of a method and application strategy to provide Covid-19 vaccination nationally.
If a European Medicines Agency (EMA) amazing meeting, rescheduled for an earlier than anticipated date of December 21 went on, and if it considered and authorized the first of the vaccines, the Pfizer BioNTech vaccine, official authorisation might be completed by December 23.
An extremely low initial round of vaccination could, on that basis, commence before year end, the launch of the Covid-19 vaccination technique heard this afternoon.
All working out on December 21, Dr Lorraine Nolan, Chief Executive of the Health Products Regulatory Authority (HPRA), stated once Marketing Authorisation was issued, which took 2 to 3 days, it implied products might then be legally supplied on those EU markets.
The vaccines are to be rolled out in 3 phases.
A very first phase present is planned for a preliminary minimal variety of doses; the second stage is provide a mass ramp up of the programme and, lastly, the third phase is to deliver open access.
Under the strategy, vaccines are to be administered, in the first instance, from long term care facilities, followed by healthcare facilities, mass vaccination clinics/centres, with GP surgeries and community drug stores “key” in administering vaccines once big numbers of dosages are available at mass ramp up and open gain access to stages.
The first group to be provided the vaccine are to be the greatest priority groups, those over the age of 65 living in long term care centers and frontline health care employees in direct patient contact.
During the second phase of the vaccination program, mass vaccination centres, perhaps facilities on the scale of Citywest in Dublin, are to be introduced.
It was to be a centralised plan, managed and released locally engaging all the neighborhood, acute, medical care, family doctors (GPs) and pharmacies workforce, Paul Reid, Chief Executive of the HSE stated at the launch.
In terms of workforce, he said they were to build on existing vaccination capability within the severe healthcare facilities, trained health care workers, the community-based vaccination teams, school vaccination groups, trained peer vaccinators, trained others and paramedics, such as potentially, senior citizens and other experts to be trained.
In relation to GPs, official engagement had actually started and candidates had actually been put forward to work with the Health Service Executive (HSE) in the in-depth procedure “over the next short while”.
The Implementation Plan released this afternoon was designed to be a living file because it required to be nimble, versatile and to be capable of progressing with time, for instance to accommodate vaccines with varying characteristics or to react to lessons discovered in our regional experience or worldwide.
Dr Tony Holohan, Chief Medical Officer at the Department of Health, stated they would keep updating the initial prioritisation as science and experience changed. He worried a developing strategy was required.
Guidance and medical suggestions for Covid-19 vaccination is to be issued by the National Immunisation Advisory Committee (NIAC), which is to complete a guidance chapter underway at present.
The learnings from the UK roll out are to be considered. “In this context, positive conversations with counterparts in Northern Ireland have already been started,” included the strategy.

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