By Carmel Hayes
AN amazing 102-year-old is the first nursing home resident in Laois to get the Covid-19 vaccine.
Sylvia Matthews was first in line for the long-awaited vaccine at St Vincent’s Community Nursing Unit (CNU) in Mountmellick today.
A much-loved resident in St Martha’s Dementia Specialist Unit, there were joyful celebrations as Sylvia received the vaccine from CNM 2 nurse Jackie, supported by S/N nurse Catherine.
Meanwhile, CNM 2 Diane O’Toole was the first staff member to get the vaccine, given by CNM 1 Sheila Slevin. These two dedicated nurses worked tirelessly during the outbreak last March on St Paul’s ward.
About 80 long-term residents at the Mountmellick unit, together with frontline staff, are getting the first of two vaccine doses. The second and final dose will be administered in three weeks’ time.
The vaccine rollout in Laois was originally expected to begin at Kilminchy Nursing Home in Portlaoise on 12 January, according to a provisional schedule drawn up by the HSE.
However, the draft schedule was revised following the Government’s decision to accelerate the nursing home vaccination programme, due to a large number of Covid outbreaks in elderly care facilities.
There are more than 100 Covid-19 outbreaks in nursing homes across the country, including Droimnín in Stradbally where ten residents have sadly died since 4 January.
As a result of the acceleration, the target end date for all nursing home vaccinations has been brought forward from 28 February to 24 January.
If the target date is met, all nursing home residents in Laois should receive the vaccine within the next ten days.
When contacted by the Laois Nationalist today, the HSE Midlands Louth Meath Community Healthcare Organisation (MLMCHO) could not provide a list of next week’s vaccine dates in Laois nursing homes.
However, MLMCHO spokesperson Ciaran Brennan said that a schedule of vaccination dates will be released to the media as soon as it is available. The Mountmellick CNU is the only Laois nursing home receiving the vaccine this week.
Droimnín Nursing Home residents were due to receive the vaccine on 19 January but the plan had to be postponed as a result of the major Covid outbreak.
Brookhaven Healthcare chief executive Gearóid Brennan said he hopes to clarify today when residents at Droimnín will be able to receive the vaccine.
Residents at Brookhaven Nursing Home in Ballyragget, Co Kilkenny, a sister home of Droimnín, will receive the vaccine this Sunday 17 January.