Vaccine delay is ‘very unfair’ - Inishowen GP
An Inishowen doctor whose practice is still awaiting Covid 19 vaccines for 80-85 year olds has said patients are being left ‘high and dry.’
Dr Seamus Kelly of Millbrae Surgery in Carndonagh spoke to the Journal after the practice was told the vaccines they were expecting this week will not be received until later this month.
It is the latest in a series of delays for the clinic, who should have received an initial supply in the first roll out in February but didn’t until last week, which allowed vaccination for over 85s.
The new issue also means patients in other cohorts in North Inishowen, such as the over 70s, may be facing lengthy delays in receiving their vaccine.
Dr Kelly told how patients are seeing people their age and younger receiving vaccines just up the road in Derry. He said patients who are eligible for a vaccine in Derry are availing of them and are being encouraged to.
Dr Kelly said that as the practice was initially given the Moderna vaccine, they now have to continue with it and there is currently a supply shortage. He said a ‘solution’ would be to give the practice the Pfizer vaccine, so they could continue with vaccinations.
“We do accept everyone is trying their best but we’re not getting any vaccines. The solution is that we get the Pfizer and then can then catch up. This is about our patients.”
Dr Kelly said it was like ‘Christmas had come early’ when they received the first supply and many patients were waiting by their phones for the call. Others wanted to stay in the waiting room for longer as it was their first time outside their home in a year. “That’s why this is so hard to accept.”
Dr Kelly said that under Government guidelines, the practice should have qualified to receive vaccines for over 85s in the first roll out and ‘only for Councillor Martin McDermott and Minister Charlie McConalogue I don’t know if we would have even got them last week’.”
The health clinic in Carn is also impacted and Dr Kelly said there are 87 patients aged 85 and above, around 130 aged 80 to 85, 200 between 75 and 80 and 400 between 70 and 75 from areas from Glentogher to Malin Head. He added how they do not know how many will be given in the second supply. “It has been tough for people this year. People have been crying when they come in as they’re so alone. Patients have been doing everything asked of them and can’t get the vaccine. That’s not fair, they’re being left high and dry.”
Colr Martin McDermott said he has been told vaccines might arrive by the 22nd but there is no guarantee. He added that ‘to be fair to the HSE,’ it is out of their control, but that he and Minister McConalogue will work to “ensure these vaccines are delivered.”