AROUND 15,000 Covid-19 vaccines have been given out to local healthcare staff and care home residents, but a major change has been made to the administration process.
In total, more than 10,000 staff members, around 2,000 care home residents and 2,000 care home staff members received the vaccine and a total number of 15,000 vaccines have been administered. Out of the 64 care homes in the Western Trust area, 59 of them have had the first vaccination and a further 45 have had the second vaccine delivered.
Recently, the regime to administer the vaccine has been changed and the second dose to complete their course will now be given out within 12 weeks rather than the initial date of three weeks.
Health leaders have said that the rescheduling will result in more health and social care staff and vulnerable citizens getting protection of the first dose more quickly.
Ann McConnell, Director of Human Resources at the Western Trust, explained, “There has been a change in the regime to the Covid-19 vaccine programme.
“The second dose of the vaccine was to be given on day 21 and now that dose will be given at 12 weeks based on the guidance from the four nations’ Chief Medical Officers and the joint vaccination committee,” said Ms McConnell.
The vaccination programme started in the Trust on December 14 with the Care Home Programme for residents and staff. The Trust staff vaccination programme started on December 21, and Omagh Leisure Complex is being used as a vaccine facility.
Domiciliary care workers and independent sector staff have also been identified for the vaccine. Dental, pharmacy and optometry teams will be called forward from January 18.
Ms McConnell continued, “Initially the vaccine was available for staff who were classified in the priority groups including staff working on the Covid-19 pathway, those who are vulnerable and GPs and staff who worked in Covid staff.
“We were also vaccinating some ambulance staff in December too.
“From January 4, the vaccine programme has opened to all Trust and NIAS staff and we have moved vaccine clinics to seven days a week where we need to.
“We have vaccinated around 2,000 residents and an equal number of care home staff.
“We are finding that care home staff who did not want the vaccine the first time around are now more open to getting the vaccine.
“People were still making up their minds but we find more people are getting the vaccine at this time,” said Ms McConnell.