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HSE CEO Paul Reid at Dr Steevens’ Hospital in Dublin today.
HSE CEO Paul Reid at Dr Steevens’ Hospital in Dublin today.
Image: Leah Farrell/RollingNews.ie

HSE thanks GPs for patience as it admits 'some issues' with vaccine delivery to practices

54,691 vaccines were administered last week to over 85s in GP settings.
Mar 4th 2021, 7:21 PM 17,381 39

THE HSE HAS thanked GPs “for their forbearance” as the executive admitted there have been some issues in some surgeries getting supplies of Covid-19 vaccine.

At a briefing this afternoon, HSE chief executive Paul Reid said that 54,691 vaccines were administered last week to over 85s in GP settings, beyond what he said was a target of 49,000. 

Despite this he said that the delivery model for GPs “is not a simple one” and that some vaccine deliveries that were planned for this week were not met. 

“We’ve definitely had some issues this week across a number of practices between cold chain deliveries and some we will re-schedule for next week. But the vast, vast majority of the over 85s will be done by the end of the week,” he said. 

Reid said there were difficulties in accessing some 65 practices that cater for between 750-800 patients in the over 85 age group. 

He said that the HSE had to put in place “an enhanced support structure” as part of its plans this week.

“I want to thank the GPs for forbearance when working with us. I know it’s been frustrating for them, and it was frustrating for their patients in particular, with some of the issues this week. But we’re adopting our support arrangements, a call centre is in place and we’re putting extra resources,” Reid said. 

Asked about the call centres, Reid said “it’s not a large number” working in the centres and numbers up to 10 people handling calls. 

Rural areas

The HSE has a number of different vaccine delivery models in place for different GP practices depending on their size, with smaller practices encouraged to “buddy up” with others. 

Asked today why some practices have not done this, HSE Chief Clinical Officer Dr Colm Henry said it may be due to their location. 

“Why individual practices can’t buddy up, there may be individual reasons, the remoteness, the rural nature, the small number I don’t know,” he said. 

It’s up to us, working with them, for whatever reasons they have to make that one common aim we all share which is to get this vaccine out to people no matter how small the number of people in a practice. 

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Syringes

Concerns have also been raised about equipment for GPs, with one GP from Galway telling the Today with Claire Byrne programme on RTÉ Radio that he drove around Connemara last Saturday evening in order to gather syringes because they were not delivered with vials of the Pfizer vaccine.

Asked if this was an widespread issue, Reid said: 

On the consumables as we would call it, we’ve investigated any cases where we’ve been advised of where consumables weren’t there either in advance or in a timely fashion for the administration of the vaccine. Certainly the ones I’ve been alerted to have been investigated. 

“The ones we’ve been alerted to and identified to date, we have been able to track that consumers were delivered, but if they haven’t please let us know.”

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Rónán Duffy

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