The roll-out of the Covid-19 vaccination campaign began in Mayo University Hospital on Wednesday, January 6.
Mary Neary, clinical nurse manager 2 on C Ward, was the first staff member in the hospital to receive the Pfizer BioNTech vaccine. Mary received the vaccine from her nursing colleague, Pádraig Ó Lúanaigh.
The vaccine was the first to be administered in county Mayo and over the coming weeks the vaccination programme will be extended across the hospital and community services. By the end of the week, over 500 staff are expected to have been vaccinated at Mayo University Hospital.
Commenting, Mary Neary said: "I am delighted to get this vaccine which will offer protection from Covid-19 and from the serious complications it can cause. I have worked in MUH for over 14 years and am currently the clinical nurse manager 2 working in C Ward, which has been designated a Covid-19 ward since the onset of the pandemic.
"We have seen the devastating effect of this infection on our patients and their families and 2020 was a really difficult year for everyone working in the health services. As we begin a new year, it is really positive to see the start of the Covid-19 vaccination campaign."
Catherine Donohoe, hospital manager at Mayo University Hospital, said: "Everyone in MUH is delighted to see the commencement of this vaccination programme here on site. Our plan is to roll out the vaccinations for the staff working in the Covid areas and to those staff delivering services to Covid positive patients.
"We expect in a short time frame that we will have vaccination made available to all our staff in Mayo University hospital. After a really difficult year we are delighted that this vital vaccination programme has begun here in Mayo University Hospital."
Dr Pádraig Ó Lúanaigh, director of nursing at Mayo University Hospital, whose team is delivering the COVID-19 vaccine campaign across the hospital, said: "2020 has been a very difficult year for everyone including health care staff. Today is a really positive day and I want to thank our peer vaccination team here in MUH for their commitment to rolling out this essential vaccine.
"This vaccine will be provided via two doses. Information will be provided to each person who receives the vaccine explaining the process to them, including the requirement to receive a second dose of this vaccine in three weeks.
"While the vaccine is not mandatory, it is recommended that everyone gets the vaccine when it is offered to them. Getting a COVID-19 vaccine should protect from the serious complications of COVID-19 and reduce the illness and deaths caused by this virus."
Tony Canavan, CEO of the Saolta Group, which has overall responsibility for the acute hospitals and the west and north west, stated: "This is a really important day for Mayo University Hospital and we are delighted that we have commenced the roll-out of this critical vaccination programme in the hospital.
"The vaccines will be delivered in stages and we will be extending the vaccination programme across the entire hospital over the coming weeks as we receive vaccine supply. This is a huge vaccination programme and our priority is to provide it to our staff as quickly as possible in the safest possible manner."
Paul Hooton, Saolta Group Chief Group Director of Nursing and Midwifery added: “We began the roll-out of the COVID-19 vaccination campaign last week in University Hospital Galway and have now begun vaccination clinics in some of our other hospitals, including Mayo University Hospital. We are working hard across each of our hospitals in the Saolta Group to ensure that this critical vaccine is provided to all staff as soon as possible.”