The deal signed off by the Government which will see local pharmacists and GPs administer the Covid-19 vaccine to people in our communities has been welcomed with delight and relief.
The Cabinet announced last week that GPs and pharmacists will play a vital part in the rollout of the AstraZeneca vaccine once it is approved by the European Medicines Agency.
The Dundalk Democrat, and its sister titles across the Iconic Newspapers group, launched its #BestShot campaign for Covid-19 vaccines to be delivered straight into our community through pharmacies, which was backed by local TDs, GAA and Dundalk FC stars, as well as local pharmacists.
The Democrat’s petition got amazing support with as many as 1,300 people signing it prior to the government announcement.
Michelle O’Keeffe, editor of the Dundalk Democrat, said: “It is great that our local pharmacies are getting to play a pivotal part in the rollout of the vaccine into our communities.
“Pharmacists have been there for local people throughout the pandemic and they are now ready to play a vital part in getting our communities open up once again.
“With Louth having one of the highest rates of positive Covid-19 cases in the country it is crucial that the vaccine is rolled out in our county efficiently and quickly and this is now possible with the help of our local pharmacists and GPs.
“We would like to thank all those who supported out #BestShot campaign as we look towards a brighter future.”
Pharmacist Mark McPhillips of Ardee Pharmacy, who was among the leading voices backing the Democrat campaign, said: “I am totally delighted that local pharmacists will get to play a vital role in administering the Covid-19 vaccine to people in our community.
“I am excited about playing a part in getting the country back up and running again.
“Our customers are eager to get the vaccine and have been asking us when we will be able to do it and how long they will have to wait.
“We are ready to go so I hope the Government puts a plan in place as quickly as possible.
“Over the next few months, we are planning to extend our opening hours and increase our staff levels to facilitate administering the vaccine to local people.
“We are also considering the possibility of using a church hall or community centre to roll out the vaccine into the community.”
Mark, who recently got vaccinated as he is a resident of Northern Ireland, said that he has a “real sense of relief” and is looking forward to being able to administer the vaccine to the people in the community.
Pharmacist Cara Murdock of Pure Pharmacy in Dundalk, who also backed our #BestShot campaign and signed our petition, said: “We are passionate about the welfare of the community and if we can be of assistance within Dundalk alongside other health practitioners, we would be most enthusiastic to help.
“The need for the roll out of the vaccine is evident for all to see.
“We wholeheartedly believe the rollout of the Covid vaccine through community pharmacies will be a game changer in the fight against Covid-19.”
Local councillor Antóin Watters said: “It is fantastic that pharmacists and GPs are going to play a vital role in the Covid-19 vaccine rollout.
“It is especially beneficial for people living in rural areas, like my constituency.
“Local pharmacists being able to administer the vaccine to people in their community is the best way to do it.
“Pharmacists have been the backbone keeping society going through the pandemic and are well equipped to do what needs to be done now.
“It is important now that a plan is put in place as quickly as possible.”