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Dublin grandmother (79) first to receive jab in the Republic of Ireland as hospitals start vaccinations

Dublin woman Annie, a 79-year-old grandmother, was the first person to be vaccinated against Covid-19 in the Republic of Ireland.

Annie Lynch receiving the Covid-19 vaccine.

Laura Lynott, Neil Fetherston and Aoife Walsh

A Dublin grandmother was the first person in the Republic of Ireland to receive the new coronavirus vaccine today.

Annie Lynch (79) got the vaccine today at St James’s Hospital, alongside healthcare workers from the hospital who were also vaccinated.

Speaking today, Annie said: “I feel very privileged to be the first person in Ireland to receive the vaccine. Like everyone else I have been waiting for the vaccine and I really feel like there is a bit of hope there now. It’s brilliant that it’s here. Everything was explained very clearly to me beforehand.”

Annie, who lives in Drimnagh in Dublin, was born in Christchurch and grew up in the Liberties.

Her husband, John sadly passed away in September. She has three children and 10 grandchildren.

Clinical nurse manager, Bernie Waterhouse, who works in a designated Covd-19 ward in St James Hospital, was the first healthcare worker in Ireland to get the vaccine.

“I wanted to get the vaccine to protect myself, and the people I work with and care for every day, from Covid-19," she said.

They will each return for their second dose in three weeks.

Head of the Covid-19 vaccine task force, Professor Brian MacCraith told RTÉ radio’s Morning Ireland: “This is a momentous day. It is the beginning of a complex process, the beginning of the end of an awful period,”

Prof MacCraith said he believes it is "very possible we will complete all vaccinations of nursing homes by February".

He said anyone in Ireland who wants the vaccine will, in a best case scenario, receive it by August.

"It'll be down to the manufacturing success of the companies, the delivery schedules ... But certainly if all things come to pass, one would be looking at that," he added.

The HSE plans all residents and staff of the country's 580 nursing homes who want the vaccine will have received it by the end of February.

Meanwhile, 765 new Covid-19 cases were confirmed yesterday along with one death.

Concern was raised in recent days at the slower pace of the vaccination roll-out in Ireland compared with other European countries that began immunising their most vulnerable populations on Sunday.

Dr Padraig McGarry, president of the Irish Medical Organisation (IMO), said last night: "While it is understandable people are anxious to see this programme begin as quickly as possible, it's critical we allow the relevant agencies to do the necessary and important preparatory work to ensure a sustainable and safe programme for the various vaccines which are becoming available over the coming months.

"The IMO will work with all parties to ensure that the vaccination programme happens as speedily and professionally as possible."

The schedule will see acute hospital staff immunised first, followed by those in long-term care facilities such as nursing homes.

An HSE spokeswoman said the programme for nursing home residents was a "highly complex process requiring the cooperation of all stakeholders".

Eighty per cent of the 580 nursing homes in the country are privately owned.

"Using centrally held information from serial testing in relation to staff and patient numbers and taking into account the required throughput per day, the HSE has issued a draft schedule to each community healthcare organisation (CHO)," the HSE spokeswoman said.


The draft schedule facilitates a "required three-week cycle and ensures that both doses are administered in an efficient manner, leading to the completion of the entire 580 nursing homes (both doses) in February".

"Each CHO will work with nursing home providers between now and next Thursday to finalise their schedules," the spokeswoman added.

Each provider must register staff members and residents who wish to take the vaccine and collect 55 individual pieces of information for each person several days before the vaccination team arrives.

"Each provider must also ensure that each staff member and each resident (and their families where appropriate) understand and give informed consent to the vaccine," the spokeswoman said.

The target completion date for all 580 public, private and voluntary nursing homes is February 28 .

Although 10,000 vaccine doses arrived in the country on Saturday, red tape over getting informed consent from people receiving the vaccine has delayed the roll-out of the jabs until today.

Chief Medical Officer Dr Tony Holohan said hospitalisations have "increased sharply in the last two days".

As of 2pm yesterday, there were 359 Covid-19 patients in hospital, of whom 30 were in intensive care units.

"We are also seeing a steep rise in the positivity rates in community testing with a seven-day average of over 9.2pc up from 5.2pc on December 18," he said. "This indicates the virus is increasing its foothold in our communities."

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