We are currently trying to complete our first doses for those aged 70+ and at this time have no access to vaccines, information or booking facilities for any vaccine to those aged <70.
For people aged between 60 and 69 there will be a HSE run registration portal which is linked below. This will enable people in this age group to book to get their vaccine.
For all our patients in the groups below this age there are some programmes being run via hospitals for those with medical conditions and there is ongoing discussion about how to vaccinate others. We will endeavour to update this page when this information becomes available. Please trust that we will be continuously reviewing our patient lists to see who we can offer a vaccine to.
This is the link to register for the Vaccine with the HSE
Over the past 2 weeks we have had multiple updates on when or how many of the covid vaccine we will be receiving and as of right now it looks like we might receive doses before the end of February. What we don't know yet is how many or exactly when we will be getting them. We will be sending out a text message inviting people to book into a vaccine clinic as soon as we have doses on site. I hope to have more updates on this by Thursday the 4th of February so please check back.
Today we can see some light at the end of the tunnel. There is a plan to get the covid vaccine out to the public and although this makes me very happy there will no doubt be bumps along the road.
I had planned on writing this post last week but I am glad now I held off as we have had news that the Oxford vaccine has been beset with delays much like the BioNtech and Moderna ones had before it. As such the start date is a little hazier than I thought it would be last Thursday.
Still we hope that the COVID Vaccination Programme in the community can be expected to commence in the coming weeks (around mid-late February). We will hear definitive dates closer to the time and update here.
Initially this vaccine will be available to patients depending on their age only. This is the ruling from the Government and we have no say in this matter.
The first group vaccinated will be patients aged over 85. Then, depending on supply, we will do the various age groups in descending order to 70. We do not have any information in relation to vaccinating people under the age of 70 as of yet other than to be told we are not permitted to vaccinate anyone under this age until further notice (staff members yet to receive vaccine including doctors and nurses are excluded from this restriction).
There is no discretion whatsoever for us to vaccinate on a medical need; COVID is most severe in the elderly. They have the highest mortality and hence are deemed the most in need.
The Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine will be the only vaccine available in GP however the HSE may start to run community mass vaccination clinics with the other vaccines. There will be no facility to choose which vaccine you would prefer as this is being provided fee of charge by the state.
When we have firm dates of vaccine delivery we will run an online booking system for the appointments. We cannot make exceptions, for walk-ins due to the need for social distancing. The online booking service will be to avoid phonecalls, please appreciate that time taken answering phone queries about the vaccine is time we can't be dealing with patients who have other urgent medical conditions. We thank you for your understanding around this.
There is no charge for the vaccine.
Flu season is nearly here and this year more than any other we need to vaccinate as many as possible to try and avoid confusion or co infection during the pandemic. In previous years most of those who need the flu vaccine would have been contacted and vaccinated by this stage however things have not run smoothly this year. There has been a shortage nationwide of flu vaccines and we have only received a fraction of the amount of vaccines we require and have requested.
Due to this we have not vaccinated as many people as we would like and we are getting a lot of justifiably concerned phonecalls about this.
We are working our way through our patients in order of urgency and medical need but if you have not heard yet from us about your vaccine please ring up and register with us. We will get back to you with a date to receive the vaccine just as soon as we get supplies.
I thank you all for you patience and understanding in this.
Dr. P. Kieran
It has been 8 weeks since we changed the way we deliver care to you our patients and it feels like a lifetime. I find I already categorise my life mentally into pre-covid and covid times which is an odd and scary feeling and I know from talking to so many of you I am not the only one feeling like this.
We have in this time been working hard to try and figure out innovative ways to deliver a high class medical service and experience for everyone and we are still learning.
In the first weeks of this crisis all routine medical care was largely postponed while we braced for the potential wave of coronavirus illnesses and deaths which thanks to the actions of the public was avoided.
Now we need to reassure you all that we are still here for you regular GP needs. Now if you need your doctor pick up the phone and ring as you would always have done. However what will now happen is our reception staff will get some details about the nature of your query and will book a telephone consultation with the GP for you. This allows us to triage and prioritise return calls by medical urgency and we will ring you back. If you need to be brought in for a physical exam the doctor will arrange this. To do our best to protect you and our other patients we will try to have as much discussion completed before you come in so as to have you in surgery for the shortest time possible. This gives more time to clean and sanitise rooms between consultations.
You will see the doctors and nurses in aprons, masks, gloves and visors. This is to protect you and our other patients.
Lastly I would personally like to say thank you all for your understanding and help in this difficult time. I have found the level of compassion towards the staff here from you our patients very touching and please remember if you need your GP we are still very much Open for business.
Its been an odd few days. Yesterday I had to draw up letters for our staff to keep in their car in case they get stopped by Gardai on the way to work, new expierences every day.
Judging by our phonecalls it seems that everyone is coming to terms with the new screening criteria and the reality of our reduced movements. Thank you all for your understanding and remember the test is to help public health and doesn't change the advice to the individual patient.
We have had to reduce the amount of time we are available on the phone and this is due to reduced staff numbers due to self isolation while people have symtpoms. We will hopefully be back to full strength in the next week or so and the phone availability will go back up to normal.
Please keep yourselves safe out there and have a look at the HSE website for any queries about self isolation, restricted movements or cocooning.
Talk to you all again soon
As you have heard on the radio and TV the criteria for testing has changed. What about people who have been referred before today? Here is the latest information we have;
All patients who have been swabbed to date will have their samples processed and tested.
We are awaiting clarification on with regard to patients who have been given a test date but not yet been tested and will update further on receipt of same.
All patients who have not yet been swabbed and do not have an appointment for a test date will NOT now be tested. Such patients will be required to reengage with their GP and the GP will triage the patient again in accordance with the new case definition (please see earlier post today in relation to updated testing criteria)
This is a rapidly evolving situation and things will likely change again as we move into the next phase of this pandemic.
As this is an evolving global health crisis the information and testing criteria will continuously evolve.
As you may have heard on the news this morning the criteria for testing has changed again.
The updated testing criteria are;
A patient with acute respiratory illness (fever and at least one sign/symptom of respiratory disease, e.g., cough, shortness of breath)
Or a patient with any acute respiratory illness AND having been in contact with a confirmed or probable COVID-19 case in the last 14 days prior to symptom onset
Or a patient with severe acute respiratory illness (fever and at least one sign/symptom of respiratory disease, e.g., cough, shortness of breath; AND requiring hospitalization) AND in the absence of an alternative diagnosis that fully explains the clinical presentation.
If a person meets this criteria they will be tested if they are in an at-risk group;
a) Symptomatic close contacts of a confirmed case
b) Symptomatic healthcare workers
c) Symptomatic at risk groups that include persons with diabetes, immunosuppressed, chronic lung disease, chronic heart disease,cerebrovascular disease, chronic renal disease, chronic liver disease and smokers
d) Symptomatic household contacts of at-risk groups
e) Symptomatic staff or residents in a long-term care facility
f) Symptomatic prison staff and inmates where it may be difficult to implement self-isolation advice
g) Symptomatic pregnant women (not because of a documented increase risk of complications but to ensure to safe clinical pathway of care)
If you meet these criteria please contact your GP to be referred for testing for COVID 19
Hello again everyone. Ireland continues on into our Covid 19 journey and hopefully this week we be able to see that the social distancing measures we have all taken part in have helped to flatten the curve of new cases.
Unfortunately Covid 19 has already had a big impact on our practice. We are down 5 members of staff self isolating while awaiting testing. This has had a huge impact on our ability to answer phonecalls. Due to this we have had to take the decision to reduce the hours during which the phone will be answered.
We will now be taking calls from 0900-1200 and again from 1400-1600.
If you have an emergency please ring the practice emergency number which is on our answering machine.
Again thank you all for your understanding in this time
Into week 2 of this crisis and I would like to say thank you to our patients for their understanding of our delays at this time.
The current number of people nationwide waiting for testing is 40,000 to put this in context we have only done 10,000 tests in total so far. The number of sites available for testing is increasing but there is a significant wait to be tested.
Bear in mind that if you have been referred for testing you should assume you are positive for Covid19 and let us know if your symptoms deteriorate particularly if you become more short of breath. The test will not alter how we medically assess or manage your symtpoms.
Today we are gathering ourselves again and trying to get through as many phonecalls as possible.
We are unfortunately down from our usual 3 staff members managing the phones to just 1 so we ask again for people to use our email service to order prescriptions where possible and have patience with our phone lines. 1 person can only take 1 call at a time.
We will do our best to be here and support you through this time. This will likely involve virtual consultations predominantly over the coming months but this will eventually return to normal.