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20/10/2021

Offaly pharmacist can't roll out vaccine due to HSE 'rules'

Offaly pharmacist can't roll out vaccine due to HSE 'rules'

Pictured at O'Donovan's CarePlus pharmacy, Church Road, Tullamore were, from left Eily Marr, Sasha Chaban, Christine Moloney and Regina Galvin

A Tullamore pharmacist has condemned the rules and regulations the HSE are seeking to impose on pharmacies who wish to deliver the Covid vaccine.

John O'Donovan who owns two pharmacies, one on the Arden Road and the other at the Dunnes Stores shopping centre on Church Road, believes the HSE just copied and pasted the directives which he says are geared towards large dispensaries.

The document states each premises must have a reception and registration area separate from the pharmacy.

The room where the vaccine is to be administered must also be distinct from the pharmacy.

There should be an observation room where the patient will stay for a period of 15 minutes afterwards.

He said the AstraZeneca vaccine comes in a bottle containing 10 vaccines, or if used with a low dead space syringe could allow for the administration of 11.

Once the rubber top is pierced on the bottle the vaccines must be given within a six-hour window. This means patients would have to be ready and waiting on the premises, otherwise, the vaccines could go to waste. People will also have to maintain a two-metre social distancing rule.

Meanwhile, the pharmacists have to deal with regular customers who need to speak to them on other matters.

"Our five pharmacists got together and we talked it through. But we don't have the facilities. It's not a runner," said John O'Donovan.

Mr O'Donovan thinks the Johnson & Johnson vaccine could be more suitable as it's a single dose and comes in a pre-loaded syringe.

He believes most of the pharmacies in Tullamore with perhaps the exception of Boots will be in a similar position to him.

Meanwhile, doctors in Tullamore are delivering the vaccine to the over 70s, however, some are experiencing shortages.

The Court Hotel which has been earmarked as a mass vaccination centre has yet to be fitted out.

A statement from the HSE said:

"While currently vaccines are being administered in healthcare settings and the GP’s in communities, many people will be offered their vaccination in those centres.

"Over eleven and a half thousand people have now been trained on the system as vaccinators all across the country.

"The vaccination programme relies on national partnership with GPs, Pharmacists and other Healthcare Professionals across the country as well as specialist vaccination hubs.

"Very shortly a public portal will go live for the first time where the public in age groups of 65’s to 69’s will register to be vaccinated.

"The Go Live of the portal is planned for the week of April 19."

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