As rays of hope start to emerge through the dark Covid-19 clouds, the opening of the vaccination centre in the Athlone Institute of Technology International Arena on Wednesday morning is further evidence of progress in the quest to suppress the persistent presence of the virus within the community.
Under the guidance of the HSE, the centre commenced the administration of vaccinations at 9am on Wednesday morning commencing the vaccination process of those in the 65-69 age category.
Speaking during a tour of the facility, Susan Temple, Vaccination Centre Co-ordinator, noted that vaccinations would be administered initially from Monday to Friday.
“The facility will initially remain open from 9am-5pm, Monday to Friday, but as the vaccine supply increases the vaccination centre hours of operation will lengthen.
“In time, within the 40 booths located onsite, we hope to vaccinate 4,500 individuals on a daily basis, but this is obviously dependent upon the vaccine supply received,” Susan stated.
Presently, there are 2,200 AstraZeneca vaccinations scheduled to be administered this week.
Those who have registered on the HSE portal to receive a Covid-19 vaccination should receive confirmation of an appointment within three to five days.
“Those who have received official confirmation of a vaccination appointment from the HSE should only attend the facility. To ensure they receive a vaccination, individuals must confirm their identity courtesy of photographic evidence, PPS number and have in possession their appointment letter,” Joe Whelan, Vaccination Centre Manager, commented.
Upon receiving their vaccination, individuals will remain within the state-of-the-art facility for a 15 minute period for precautionary assessment prior to departing.
Opening of Vaccination Centre marks significant progress
Speaking to the Athlone Advertiser on Tuesday afternoon, Athlone Town Mayor, Cllr Aengus O’Rourke, lauded the work ethos of all those who continue to afford their focus towards the essential delivery of the Covid-19 vaccination programme.
“The announcement that Athlone’s large scale vaccination centre located at the International Sports Arena in AIT has opened this week is very welcome news indeed.
“In fact, this is the news we have all been waiting to hear in our local community. I know of many people in their late 60s from the locality, who, in recent days, received confirmation of their appointment at the centre for this week. The news comes as great relief to all those now receiving their appointments by text and email.
“It is wonderful that we are beginning to see real meaningful hope at last in terms of our battle to defeat this awful virus. Young and old, it is each individual’s wish and hope that once the vaccination programme is substantially underway to the general population we can start living our lives again.
“While we still have some time to go before we reach that horizon, I really do believe that as this vaccination centre winds up to full capacity seven days a week, in the coming weeks, we are finally entering a brighter period, one of real hope and optimism.
“With easy access, plenty of car parking and a huge auditorium, the Athlone Institute of Technology International Sports Arena is the ideal location for a large scale vaccination centre.
“The HSE continue to work very hard to deliver the vaccination programme nationally and as Mayor of Athlone I am delighted to see Athlone feature as a key centre for vaccination in the Midlands region. I would also like to thank the HSE for their ongoing work in the battle against this stubborn and deadly virus.
“The Government have reassured us that in the coming weeks supply will continue to increase substantially and we will witness such large vaccination centres across the country operating to full capacity administering vaccines at a scale not previously possible - and at a scale that will begin to make a real difference to our population.
“I visited the AIT vaccination centre on Tuesday morning of this week, the day prior to its opening and to see it all so professionally laid out and ready for action - for all of us it represents a real beacon of hope and optimism for the future,” Cllr O’Rourke remarked.