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All over-70s in a Kerry village have received their first Covid-19 vaccine

The Sneem Health Centre received enough doses to vaccinate all over 70s.

File image of Sneem, Co Kerry.
File image of Sneem, Co Kerry.
Image: Shutterstock

ALL RESIDENTS AGED over 70 in Sneem, Co Kerry have now received their first Covid-19 vaccine dose after the village health centre received an unexpected quantity of the Moderna vaccine.

The Sneem Health Centre has around 240 patients aged 70 and over. On 19 February, the centre received 30 vials of the Moderna vaccine from the HSE.

Each vial of this vaccine contains around ten doses, meaning approximately 300 people could receive their first jab. 

Dr Hernan Ganzo, who runs the centre, said all his patients aged over 70 have since received their first vaccine dose. 

The GP and his staff were aided in the vaccination process by local members of the community, including retired GP Dr Paddy Malone. 

Dr Ganzo told RTÉ radio’s Today with Claire Byrne that it was a “happy surprise” to receive 300 doses after informing the HSE of his patient numbers. 

There are nine vaccine vials remaining, so around 90-100 more people in the village will receive their first dose this weekend. The practice will now focus on patients with underlying conditions. 

Retired GP Dr Malone said there were a number of vaccination sessions last week, including a “marathon” all-day session last Saturday.

Dr Ganzo said patients waited in the GP surgery for a few minutes after receiving the dose, before going to a pub across the road to be observed for around 15 minutes. 

The patients did not receive a drink at the pub, “not even water”, Dr Malone clarified. 

Dr Malone said the vaccination process was “very positive”. 

“Everybody who came in the door was absolutely joyous about the arrival of the vaccines,” he said. 

“The gloom had disappeared with the bad weather as it was a wonderful day in Sneem,” he said,” speaking of last weekend.  

Speaking to TheJournal.ie, Dr Ganzo explained that there is a minimum batch of 10 Moderna vaccine vials that can be sent at any time.

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With around 240 patients aged 70 or older, his practice received 30 vials resulting in approximately 300 vaccine doses to administer. 

He said the practice contacted the HSE to ask for additional materials to administer the vaccines when it received the 30 vials. 

The Moderna vaccine is stored at temperatures of between -25 and -15 degrees Celsius, but it can be kept for 30 days in a fridge. 

Once removed from the freezers, the vaccines can then be stored at a temperature of two to eight degres Celsius.

Dr Ganzo said his practice chose to administer the vaccines as “fast as possible” to over 70s in the area, despite having this 30-day window. 

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