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Róisín Shortall TD, co-leader of the Social Democrats, has expressed concern that the HSE is not adequately prepared to ensure sufficient staff are in place to administer Covid-19 vaccinations.

Deputy Shortall said:

“The Minister for Health urgently needs to provide clarity about who will be administering the vaccines, the staff numbers required and where the vaccinators will be drawn from. The HSE would appear to be relying on school vaccinators, who currently work limited hours, as well as what are termed ‘peer vaccinators’ in hospitals.

“Most healthcare staff are already under severe pressure, and there is very little spare capacity for additional work to administer the vaccines. We will need to be running the vaccination programme on a 7-day basis with 12-hour working days in order to administer it as quickly as possible. That requires dedicated staffing.

“The HSE needs to be given approval to open recruitment for vaccinators for suitably qualified staff. It would be unforgivable if we find ourselves in a situation where we have sufficient quantities of the vaccine but insufficient staff numbers to administer it.

“The Minister needs to set out the precise staffing schedule for the vaccination programme, to assure everyone that adequate staff numbers will be available when they’re needed.

“It is worth noting that recruitment can be a slow process, which makes it all the more important to ensure the process gets underway immediately.”

January 8, 2021

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