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04 Oct 2022

Department of Public Health North East welcome the uptake in the Covid-19 vaccination

Department of Public Health North East welcome the uptake in the Covid-19 vaccination

Department of Public Health HSE North East have welcomed the uptake in the Covid-19 vaccination in conjunction with Louth County Council.

In a media statement the Department said: 

The proven effectiveness of vaccines in protection against illness and saving lives has allowed the lifting of nearly all restrictions, and after two years, a return to our more normal lives.

The good news for communities across the North East today is that coming into contact with Covid-19 when vaccinated means you are much less likely to get very sick.

Dr Augustine Pereira, Director of Public Health North East acknowledged that “…the virus is still circulating and it’s important than every person in the North East has benefited from the protection that vaccination provides” he said.

When colleagues from Public Health North East, the two Community Healthcare organisations (CHO1 and CHO8), and the Local authorities of Cavan, Monaghan, Meath and Louth first met in September last year, vaccination uptake rates in some age groups were amongst the lowest in the country at under 60% in some parts of the North East. 

In Cavan and Monaghan, just three out of every five people were vaccinated at the time. Covid-19 transmission was rampant, and sickness and hospitalisation threatened to overwhelm.

A joint mission between Public Health, Community Healthcare and Local Authorities of the North East was embarked upon, the goal to encourage vaccination, dispel the myths, to inform and educate to drive down virus transmission, listen to community groups and protect lives and livelihoods.

We have achieved remarkable success reaching over 95% uptake in North East amongst eligible adults.

Commenting on the success of the vaccination programme, Joan Martin, Chief Executive of Louth County Council said; 

“I am immensely proud of the efforts of all Louth people to suppress Covid-19 in our fantastic community over the last two years. It was my pleasure to assist the efforts of the Public Health Team and the HSE in the North East team in promoting the message, and we will continue to assist where possible.”

 Dr Pereira, acknowledged the role of community vaccination centre staff, GPs and pharmacies in their collective achievement as well as the role local authority staff have played in their professional and everyday life;

“We have seen collaboration across public health, healthcare staff in communities and local authorities at a pace and scale unparalleled in recent times. The commitment to improve and protect health amongst all and the reach of Local Authorities into their communities have all contributed to the success of the vaccination programme and protection of the people of the North East from Covid-19.  New teams, new working cultures and new approaches to solving difficult problems pursued.”

 Meetings with Social Inclusion and PPN networks were facilitated through open floor information sessions. Local Authorities enabled the dissemination of key Public Health messages through their communication platforms.

Dr Pereira confirmed that Public Health North East will continue to reach out to the unvaccinated to meet with, and provide access to vaccines, saying: “we are grateful for the valuable insights on local populations and communities that Local Authorities and Community Healthcare have shared with Public Health teams, which has been key to communicating into hard to reach communities.”

Des O’Flynn, Chief Officer, Midlands Louth Meath CHO said: “while we are all in this together was the basis of our response to Covid-19, the collective response from our staff, the wider health services, our partners in local authorities and the people of the Northeast demonstrated how we collectively worked together for the greater good. It has been a tough and exhausting time but we also know that we can’t be complacent. Please take a test if you display symptoms and, of course, get a vaccine if you haven’t had one yet. Vaccines are working and are helping to prevent severe illness across Ireland.”

 Dr Pereira said: “We have achieved so much by working in partnership with each other and our local authorities. As we look towards the future, and the recovery of our society, our health and our care system we will continue to work collaboratively in promoting vaccination uptake and accessibility, addressing inequalities, while continuing to protect and improve the health of the population of the North East.”

He added that our collective endeavours at keeping this virus supressed through vaccination will remain central to the wellbeing and prosperity of the North East region in the years ahead.

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