Here are some common Q&A about the Covid-19 vaccine put together by IPBN member and Medical Expert, Dr Shane Farrelly, CEO and Medical Director at SomarMed.
When will vaccinations begin?
The vaccines will be rolled out in three phases, triggered by the EMA’s market authorisation for the first vaccine, Pfizer/BioNtech. The initial roll out will focus on the highest priority groups, those over the age of 65 living in long-term care facilities and frontline healthcare workers in direct patient contact, who will receive the vaccine first.
Where will they be given?
Vaccines will be administered from long-term care facilities and hospitals initially, and as the campaign progresses it will focus on the next priority groups and people may be vaccinated through mass vaccination clinics, GP surgeries and community pharmacies. This will be done by qualified and trained healthcare workers, including hospital doctors, community medical officers, nurses, GPs and pharmacists.
What about vaccine safety and effectiveness?
A vaccine is only approved if it meets the required standards of safety and effectiveness. All of the recommended vaccines used in Ireland are licensed by either the Health Products Regulatory Authority (HPRA) or the European Medicines Agency (EMA). They are licensed for use only when they have been shown to be both safe and effective. Vaccines are a proven, cost-effective intervention to protect public health; second only to the provision of clean water. Worldwide, they save at least 2-3 million lives each year – and many more from crippling and lifelong illnesses.
When will people get the vaccine?
The vaccines will be delivered in stages so it will take time to vaccinate the population. Certain priority groups will be vaccinated first. The first groups vaccinated will be frontline healthcare workers and people who are most at risk from serious infection if they catch COVID-19. Once these priority groups have been vaccinated, the vaccine will be open to the rest of the population.
Will there be a charge?
COVID-19 vaccines will be free of charge for everyone.
Can we stop taking COVID precautions?
The vaccines will be delivered in stages so it will take time to vaccinate the population. This means we are all still at risk from COVID-19. We will need to continue to be careful about our individual and collective actions to stop the spread of COVID-19. For example, social distancing, wearing a face covering and regular hand washing.
What if I am worried about vaccine safety?
Relying on trusted sources of evidence-based information people consistently report the value to them of getting factual, up-to-date information from trusted sources - the HSE and health professionals. People also highly value the support and advice of friends and family. We advise people to read and access information from trusted sources, and recommend you visit www.hse.ie/covid19vaccine and information is also available from the Gov.ie site at gov.ie/covid19vaccine.