ALONE seeks clarity on Ireland’s vaccination strategy and implementation for older people

ALONE, the organisation that supports and empowers older people, is seeking clarity on Ireland’s vaccination strategy and implementation for older people addressing the importance of quality for access. The organisation is taking action after one in five of calls into their National Support Line in the past week concern general COVID-19 related queries, COVID-19 vaccination and testing questions and the restrictions that concern older people as Level 5 looks to continue well into February.

Of these COVID-19 calls, roughly half of these older people were specifically asking about when they would be receiving the vaccine. One caller to the ALONE National Support Line was dissatisfied at the knowledge provided by the Government around the vaccination rollout. The HSE website currently displays, “You do not need to contact us to get the COVID-19 vaccine. We will let you know when you can register to get the vaccine through an invitation from your healthcare team, news or public advertising.”[1]

ALONE also believe that keeping to the promise of the rollout timeline is essential to support the reintegration of older people in society. The organisation is seeking clear instructions to be issued by the Government as guidance, in addressing who will contact older people and when. ALONE are appealing for the strategy to be adhered to and for those who are more vulnerable to receive the vaccine in the estimated timeframe. ALONE have received a number of reports of phone scams relating to the administration of the vaccination in homes, which only drives the need for clarity of information.

Seán Moynihan, CEO ALONE said, “The current directions for older people on when they can avail of the COVID-19 vaccine are not clear enough. If an invitation is extended to older people via news or public advertising, we need clear step-by-step guidance on where older people are to revert to in order to book in for their first vaccination. There must be easy directions on what to do when you have received the vaccine and when to return for your second administration. The recent texting and calling scams about vaccine distribution and administration are cause for concern.”

He continued, “It is vitally important to ensure that Government sticks to the rollout plan that they have announced and prioritise older people for this vaccine, so that we can keep this promise to our older people who have already been through so much since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. There is light at the end of the tunnel, but we must ensure that older people are provided with sufficient guidance and clear information about their upcoming vaccinations.”

If you are concerned about your own wellbeing or the wellbeing of someone you know please contact ALONE’s National Support Line on 0818 222 024 which is available seven days a week from 8am – 8pm. Further information can be found on www.alone.ie.

[1] https://www2.hse.ie/screening-and-vaccinations/covid-19-vaccine/getting-covid-19-vaccine.html

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