A fifth year Ballyhaunis Community School student who was the recipient of a kidney donation, was one of three teenage kidney transplant recipients to receive their second dose of the Pfizer/BioNTech Covid-19 vaccination last week.
Seventeen-year-old Rebecca Osgood Daly, was brought to Beaumont Hospital for her second dose last week by her mother Bernie, who donated a kidney to her daughter in 2010.
Rebecca was one of a number of former patients of Temple Street Children's Hospital who were reclassified as at very high risk to Covid.
Speaking afterwards, Rebecca's mother Bernie said: "It has been a long time coming and we are so grateful to have reached this point. Rebecca has been cocooning for over a year, away from her friends, and it has been very difficult for her.
"When the first schedule for the rollout of vaccines was announced, we were in disbelief that Rebecca and other transplant recipients of her age were not included. When the age category for the vaccination rollout was extended to over 16s, it was a huge relief. Once her vaccine has had time to work in a few weeks, we expect that Rebecca will be able to get back to school after a year-long hiatus."
Speaking at the national launch ahead of Organ Donor Awareness Week which took place last week, Mr Colin Mackenzie, National Honorary Chairman, Irish Kidney Association, said: "Sadly Covid-19 had and continues to have a serious unwelcome impact on the transplant and dialysis community.
"Initial medical advice was to cocoon. Suddenly people previously leading a normal life, can no longer attend work or socialise. There was fear and anxiety about the risks amongst patients attending hospitals. This has also had a significant impact on people’s mental health.
"A number of people in the dialysis and transplant community died with Covid-19, and we would like to express our deep sympathies to their families.”
Individuals who wish to support organ donation are encouraged to keep the reminders of their decision available by carrying the organ donor card, permitting Code 115 to be included on their driver’s licence and having the ‘digital organ donor card’ APP on their smartphone.
Organ Donor Cards can be obtained by phoning the Irish Kidney Association on 01 6205306 or Free text the word DONOR to 50050. You can also visit the website www.ika.ie/get-a-donor-card or download a free ‘digital organ donor card’ APP to your phone.