A 105-year-old housebound great-grandmother has been waiting almost three months for a Covid-19 vaccine.
The Co Galway woman, whose family is terrified she may contract the disease, may be the oldest unvaccinated person in the State.
Despite weeks of calling her GP and the Health Service Executive, her family say they have been unable to advance her vaccination.
“If we were only given a date when it might happen, that would be good. But we’ve been given no information,” says Frances Delaney, the woman’s daughter.
Ms Delaney, who asked that her mother not be identified, said she was certified by her GP as fit to receive a vaccine on February 12th. Ireland’s Covid-19 vaccination programme began in late December.
Another daughter, who lives with the woman and is her carer, has been calling the HSE “for weeks”, after being advised by the GP to contact it, Ms Delaney told The Irish Times.
“My sister, who hasn’t been called for vaccination herself, is terrified she might get Covid. But the only contact was when the ambulance service rang three weeks ago to ask for her Eircode.”
Ms Delaney says her mother lives in her own home in a town, “not up a boreen”. Another woman in the town, who is a few months younger, was vaccinated after being taken by wheelchair to the GP.
“I can’t understand why my mother hasn’t yet been vaccinated, when the Government has been saying all the time that the most vulnerable should be done first.”
The HSE delayed the administration of vaccines to housebound patients until after the over-85 age category was completed. On Thursday, HSE chief executive Paul Reid said the immunisation of housebound patients was up and running through the National Ambulance Service and was “going very well”.
About 300 housebound patients, out of an estimated 1,500, have been vaccinated so far, mostly around Dublin. The number, which is based on information provided by GPs from their patient lists, is lower than first envisaged.
HSE official David Walsh said the campaign, which will broaden out after being started in the east, south and south-east, was “labour-intensive” and would take “a number of weeks”.