The Psychiatric Nurses Association (PNA) today (Friday, 22nd January) expressed serious concerns at the delayed and sporadic roll-out of the Covid -19 vaccine throughout the mental health and intellectual disability (ID) services.
Mr Peter Hughes, PNA General Secretary, said there is growing concern by both staff and service users that they are not being sufficiently prioritised for vaccination and are not being communicated properly with on the scheduling of the vaccine delivery.
He said frontline mental health and intellectual disability staff and service users are among the most vulnerable to infection in the health services, yet they are not being prioritised and many of them are now feeling left behind in the current vaccination roll-out.
“We are being informed of very sporadic first dose vaccination in the mental health services with very little roll out in intellectual disability services and community mental health services in many parts of the country. It is particularly worrying that it will be up to a further three weeks before first dose vaccination will be given to very many of our members and service users throughout mental health and ID services.”
“We must remember that we have a large vulnerable client base in these services, many with underlying health conditions, and it is disappointing that this is not being sufficiently recognised in the prioritising of the vaccine roll-out.”
“It is clear to our members, and a cause of growing frustration in various parts of the country, that the schedule for vaccination of frontline staff is not being sufficiently adhered to. There now needs to be more rigorous management of the vaccine at local level and a renewed commitment from the HSE to prioritise staff and services users for vaccination throughout the mental health and ID services.”
Media Contact: Derek Cunningham 086 2430535