Cork Kerry Community Healthcare vaccinators are have completed the first round of the roll-out of the Pfzier BioNtech vaccine in nursing homes and community hospitals in the region.
By the end of Sunday (yesterday), the vaccine was offered to residents and staff at more than 90 nursing homes and community hospitals, with more than 10,000 vaccines doses administered across the two counties.
This mammoth task has been undertaken by peer vaccinators in Cork Kerry Community Healthcare facilities, and teams of HSE vaccinators in private and voluntary facilities. Teams from the South South West Hospital Group have also supported the vaccination roll-out in the community.
Now, the roll-out will immediately move to residents aged over 65 in other long-term residential facilities, including disability and mental health facilities, with supply of the vaccine the only limiting factor.
Among the facilities where residents and staff were offered the vaccine this weekend were St Joseph’s Nursing Home in Killorglin.
Kay O’Connor, vaccination team lead in Kerry said that the teams have worked from early in the morning to late at night, all with the aim of protecting residents of nursing homes and community hospitals.
Private nursing homes have been very supportive of the teams, she explained.
“It is a great achievement to have offered and administered the first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine to all the nursing homes in Kerry within a two-week period and this would not have been possible without the hard work and dedication of all the staff. The nursing homes were extremely welcoming of the vaccination team and every nursing home had extra staff on hand to help in the delivery of this very important vaccination programme. Everyone worked well together and we all look forward to working together again in the coming weeks in the delivery of the second phase of this national programme,” she said.
She also pleaded with the public to continue to keep up with all the measures to stop the spread of COVID-19.
“Please continue to heed the Public Health advice. By rolling out this vaccine to nursing home residents and the wider community, we will eventually see an end to COVID-19,” Kay added.
Priscilla Lynch, COVID-19 lead for Cork Kerry Community Healthcare added “a huge thank-you” to “everyone involved in the vaccination programme”.
“As well as our teams of vaccinators, so many others have worked tirelessly behind the scenes on this roll-out so that we can get the vaccine delivered quickly and safely.”
While the vaccination roll-out is going ahead as quickly as possible, Cork Kerry Community Healthcare reminds the public that nursing homes and residential centres are still facing enormous challenges.
There are currently 47 outbreaks in residential settings across Cork and Kerry which includes nursing homes, community hospitals, disability centres and mental health services. Most of these are in residential centres for older people ie private nursing homes and community hospitals.
Cork Kerry Community Healthcare Chief Officer Michael Fitzgerald said:
“I cannot overstate how serious the situation is right now for many nursing homes, community hospitals and other centres. The level of staff ill with COVID-19 across the health service means that it is difficult for some locations to maintain their staffing at the levels needed, and this is a constant challenge. The HSE and Cork Kerry Community Healthcare is now supporting a significant number of residential centres in crisis. Staff are going to heroic lengths to make sure that residents continue to receive the care they need, and their communities may never know the debt of gratitude we all owe them.”
Mr Fitzgerald said that despite these heroic efforts of healthcare staff, there is still an urgent need for more healthcare staff, particularly nurses and healthcare assistants, to redeploy to nursing homes.
“I repeat our appeal for any healthcare staff, particularly nurses and healthcare assistants not currently involved in direct care of patients or residents and who are available to contact me on MichaelM.Fitzgerald@hse.ie.”
Mr Fitzgerald said that the best way for everyone else to support the efforts of healthcare workers is to simply stay at home as much as possible.
“In particular, we ask everyone to stay at home and avoid contact with anyone outside your own household. This is the best way for you to play your part in stopping the spread of COVID-19 in order to protect residents in nursing homes and our healthcare workers,” he said.
Possible return to campus for college students
By Niamh Dwyer, Chairperson of the Kerry Branch of Guidance Counsellors
The announcement by the Department of Education this week, that the Leaving Cert results will be issued on Friday, September 3, was followed by confirmation from the Central Applications Office that CAO Round 1 offers will be issued online, four days later on Tuesday, September 7 at 2pm.
This is about three weeks later than normal, although it is earlier than the 2020 dates. Coinciding with the release of these dates comes the news from Minister for Further and Higher Education, Simon Harris, that it is the priority of Government to get college students back on campus for the 2021/2022 academic year. Because of the later issue of Leaving Cert results and CAO offers, this means that First Year students will start college a couple of weeks later than those who are returning to college in Second, Third and Fourth Year.
From the point of social distancing, the staggered start may be an advantage, as we will still be living with certain restrictions due to COVID-19. There are a number of contributing factors what will influence a safe and successful return to the college campus for students according to Minister Harris. They include the roll-out and take-up of vaccinations in the college-age cohort by September, the use of rapid testing on campus which has been run as a pilot in several universities this year, and a varied approach to face-to-face lectures. It is hoped that smaller classes, practicals and tutorials can be operated as before with social distancing while the larger lectures may need to be facilitated using a blended approach. It is also felt that if cafés, restaurants and bars are open everywhere else, there is no reason why they can’t open on campus. This of course is all based on vaccinations and public health guidelines.
A big concern for First Year students following the announcements is the fact that they will be looking for accommodation later than all other students. This is an issue every single year because when CAO offers are issued, many students get offers for colleges in locations where they have not secured accommodation. Naturally it is of particular concern to rural students and mirrors a greater societal shortage of accommodation. Minister Harris has also stated that he is bringing a proposal to Cabinet in the coming weeks to implement legislation which means that the owners of purpose-built student accommodation will only be allowed to charge rents a month in advance rather than insisting on payment of rent for half of the college year, something which has put enormous strain on students and their families over the years.
So, while any kind of certainty surrounding a return to ‘normal’ college life isn’t possible, it is both hopeful and exciting for new and returning college students to be able to look forward to the next college year with the prospect of getting to enjoy a real college experience and all that has to offer.
I will be hosting a free webinar for Leaving Cert parents on June 16 at 7pm on ‘How to help your son/daughter with CAO Change of Mind and other career options’ ahead of the CAO deadline on July 1.
To register see links on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram: @mycareerplan or email me on firstname.lastname@example.org.
Niamh Dwyer is a Guidance Counsellor in Scoil Phobail Sliabh Luachra, Rathmore, and Chairperson of the Kerry Branch of Guidance Counsellors. She is also a Career Consultant. For details see www.mycareerplan.ie or follow @mycareerplan on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter.
Deadline for health and well-being fest fast approaching
Friday June 25, the closing date to register an interest in hosting an activity or event during the 2021 Kerry Mental Health and Well-being Fest, is fast approaching. This year’s #KerryMHWFest will run from October 9 to 16. It is held annually to highlight World Mental Health Day on October 10. Organised by an interagency […]
Friday June 25, the closing date to register an interest in hosting an activity or event during the 2021 Kerry Mental Health and Well-being Fest, is fast approaching.
This year’s #KerryMHWFest will run from October 9 to 16. It is held annually to highlight World Mental Health Day on October 10.
Organised by an interagency steering group, the key focus of the Kerry Mental Health and Well-being Fest is to promote mental health and well-being in Kerry through a fun and interactive programme of events.
“The Kerry Mental Health and Well-being Fest aims to create awareness of, and schedule events that empower people to engage with the Five Ways to Well-being – Connect | Give | Take Notice | Keep Learning | Be Active – as well as raising awareness of the available supports and services in the county,” Chair of the Steering Committee, Donagh Hennebry, said.
“The Fest has a wide reach across Kerry and we want to continue to build on its success in 2021. But we can’t do this without you! We are inviting anyone who is interested in helping us achieve our goal, by hosting an event(s) during #KerryMHWFest, to register online as soon as possible.”
The organising committee is a collaboration between Connecting for Life Kerry, Healthy Kerry, Kerry County Council, the HSE, NEWKD, SKDP, Kerry Mental Health Association, Jigsaw Kerry, Munster Technological University/Kerry, and Kerry Volunteer Centre.
To register your interest to host an event for the 2021 Kerry Mental Health and Well-being Fest, visit www.healthykerry.ie before close of business on Friday, June 25.
For more information about registration, promotion, or the Fest in general, please contact the interagency steering group at: email@example.com.
Free and subsidised higher education courses for Kerry
11 free and subsidised higher education places have been announced for Kerry under the Springboard+ 2021 and Human Capital Initiative (HCI) Pillar 1 initiatives. The courses, which open for applications today (Wednesday), will run at Munster Technological University Kerry. The courses on offer include a Bachelor of Science in Pharmacy Management & Practice, a Certificate in […]
11 free and subsidised higher education places have been announced for Kerry under the Springboard+ 2021 and Human Capital Initiative (HCI) Pillar 1 initiatives. The courses, which open for applications today (Wednesday), will run at Munster Technological University Kerry.
The courses on offer include a Bachelor of Science in Pharmacy Management & Practice, a Certificate in Retail Food Service Operations and a Postgraduate Diploma in Bioeconomy with Business.
Over 10,000 places are available across both programmes nationwide in 2021.
Springboard+ provides free courses for people who are unemployed, people who have taken time out of work or education to raise their families or care for loved ones, or people who want to upskill. Now in its 10th year, over 75,000 people have benefited from Springboard+ to date.
Courses under the HCI Pillar 1 programme are aimed at graduates and offer incentivised places for them to reskill in areas of skills shortage and emerging technologies. These are being run alongside, and complementary to, the Springboard+ offerings.
For those in employment, the Government will fund 90% of the cost of a Springboard+ or HCI Pillar 1 course. The programmes are managed by the Higher Education Authority on behalf of the Department of Education and Skills.
Launching the programme, Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science, Simon Harris, TD said, “As we emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic, we will need to ensure that people have the skills they need”.
Candidates who wish to participate will find full details on the approved courses on www.springboardcourses.ie. Experienced guidance counsellors will be available to advise potential Springboard+ and HCI Pillar 1 participants on their options on the freephone Springboard+ helpline: 1800 303 523. The helpline is open from 9.30am to 4.30pm Monday to Friday.
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