An Irish doctor has estimated how long it will take for the vaccine to be fully distributed and said that COVID-19 vaccine passports will likely be needed in order to allow people to travel abroad once again.
Dr Nuala O’Connor, who is the COVID-19 lead for the Irish College of General Practitioners, said that it’s going to take around six to nine months to vaccinate the Irish population.
Following the news that doctors, pharmacists and nurses will likely be involved in administering the vaccine, Dr O’Connor said that the country will need to adopt an ‘all hands on deck’ approach to immunisation.
‘Anyone in this country who is trained and licensed to be able to give an intermuscular injection is actually going to have to be involved with this vaccine,’ she said to Newstalk Breakfast.
‘It won’t be a one size fits all, obviously for the nursing home we’ll have to go to visit the nursing home and that could involve GPs or peer-nurse vaccinators.’
She also said that vaccination could take place in workplaces and schools with perhaps a mechanism to book the vaccine online.
‘We will also have to have some kind of essential database for storing all this information on who has been vaccinated because ultimately people are going to need a vaccine passport for travel.’
She stressed the vaccine will not be the ‘silver bullet’ to immunisation in early January when the vaccine roll-out is expected to begin.
‘There’s going to be a suite of options, but it’s not all going to happen in January, this is going to take six to nine months for us to be able to offer vaccinations to all the eligible population.
Dr O’Connor emphasised that the vaccine is just one part of the ‘toolbox’ in battling COVID-19.
‘In the meantime, we have to ensure we do the basics and we stop virus numbers starting to rise again.’