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Elderly anxious to receive vaccine after surge in Covid deaths


'THIS IS NOT OVER'  Mulranny GP, Jerry Cowley.

Anton McNulty

A MAYO GP has called on the public to be ultra cautious when in contact with elderly people to ensure they are well enough to receive the Covid-19 vaccine when it arrives.
The latest official Central Statistics Figures show that in Mayo, 95 people have died with Covid-19 in Mayo. Of those deaths, 47 were in the two-week period ending January 22. The average age of people who have died with Covid-19 is 82.
As of 8pm on Sunday, there were 55 Covid-19 cases in Mayo University Hospital, with three of those cases in critical care. At a HSE media briefing last Thursday, the hospital was described as ‘very challenged’ in terms of needing to transfer to other hospitals and ambulance turnaround.
The next rollout of the Covid-19 vaccine is expected to start in mid-February, with people aged 85 and older to be the next group to be vaccinated.

Paying the price
Mulranny-based GP Dr Jerry Cowley said older people are anxious to receive the vaccine given the number of deaths in recent weeks, and he is urging the public to follow all the public health guidelines.
“Older people are the ones who are getting sick and that is why the cases are high in the hospital and passing away in high numbers. When it is big in the communities it will get into homes, including older people’s homes, even though they have done their best and not left the house.
It doesn’t come in on the wind … they are getting it because someone brings it into them,” he said.
“Let’s face it, everyone didn’t do exactly what they were supposed to do, and we are paying the price of it. People need to be reminded and ultra cautious and treat everyone as they have it themselves, and if we do that we will be okay.
“There is tremendous courage out there with people helping older people, but through no fault of their own this virus comes into the house… My heart goes out to anyone affected, but we have to remember this is not over, and we need to watch the last stretch of this race against the virus.”

Ready to go
GPs received a welcome boost on Sunday when AstraZeneca agreed to supply the EU with a further 9 million doses in the first quarter, which will mean an extra 100,000 vaccines for Ireland.
Dr Cowley explained that like the majority of rural practices in Mayo, he has a high number of elderly patients, but he has not received any notice of how many vaccines his practice will receive or when they will arrive.
However, he stressed that his practice will be ready to roll them out when they begin, adding that depending on the number of vaccines they receive, they may use the Mulranny Amenity Centre as a centre to vaccinate more people more quickly.