THE announcement yesterday (Monday) that WIT Arena has been earmarked as a mass vaccination centre for Covid-19, while the first GP-led vaccinations commenced across the country, is a significant step forward in the fight against the virus in Waterford.
While criticism remains over the pace of the vaccination programme, it is still fantastic and refreshing to at last see movement on the commencement of this ambitious programme in our own county.
The vaccines, which are being offered to the over-85 age group first, are coming none too soon, as another shocking story in this week’s Waterford News & Star reveals that 71 Waterford people have died from Covid-19 since the start of 2021. To put this in perspective, only two Waterford people died of the virus in 2020. During the week February 1-7 alone, 11 people lost their lives to Covid-19 in University Hospital Waterford.
At this stage, with hospital and nursing home staff being administered their second doses of the vaccine, progress in our fight back against Covid-19 should finally start to slowly reap results. But Waterford people are being urged to continue to hold firm, with daily figures still concerning.
The fourth week of January was our worst to date in terms of deaths of Waterford people due to Covid-19, when 21 deaths were recorded. This grim peak appears to have been passed, with 15 deaths recorded for the first fortnight in February, still, however, a staggeringly high number.
In the larger GP practices where either the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines will be offered, staff are primed to get started. In the Rowe Creavin Medical Practice, vaccinations will commence on March 2 – there was disappointment that an earlier start was not possible due to their patient numbers in the over-85 age group falling slightly short. (You had to have above 80 patients over 85 years old to qualify for the first delivery, they had 77). However, when they do commence they have preparations in place to ensure no vaccine is wasted.
Effectively, from now on we will hear of more and more of our community receiving the Covid-19 vaccine – neighbours, grandparents, parents – whether in GP practices or in the mass vaccination centre at WIT Arena, taking each of us a step closer to a safer community for all – one where, sooner rather than later, we will be able to return to that normal life and those interactions with our families and friends we miss and yearn for so much. It is hard to imagine, but someday soon we will publish the last of our Covid-19 case statistics. We are already on the road to recovery.
Editorial, first published in February 16th edition of the Waterford News & Star