“I feel very privileged to be the first person in Ireland to receive the vaccine.”
Annie Lynch, a 79 year-old woman from Dublin, has become the first person in Ireland to be vaccinated against COVID-19. She got the vaccine today at St James’s Hospital in Dublin 8, alongside healthcare workers from the hospital who were also vaccinated.
Bernie Waterhouse is an Clinical Nurse Manager working in a designated COVID-19 ward in St James Hospital, and is the first healthcare worker in Ireland to get the COVID vaccine. She said as she received her vaccine: “I wanted to get the vaccine to protect myself, and the people I work with and care for every day, from COVID-19.”
Annie’s vaccine was the first Pfizer BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine to be administered by vaccinators at 4 hospitals across the country – St James’s Hospital and Beaumont Hospital in Dublin, Cork University Hospital, and University Hospital Galway. The vaccines given today were from the first delivery of 10,000 doses received by the HSE on December 26th.
Annie lives in Drimnagh in Dublin, and was born in Christchurch and grew up in the Liberties. Her husband, John sadly passed away in September. She has 3 children and 10 grandchildren. Annie is currently a resident in the Mercer’s Institute for Successful Ageing at St. James’s.
Annie said today, “I feel very privileged to be the first person in Ireland to receive the vaccine. Like everyone else I have been waiting for the vaccine and I really feel like there is a bit of hope there now. It’s brilliant that it’s here. Everything was explained very clearly to me beforehand.”
Annie was given a HSE vaccine information leaflet, along with more detailed manufacturer’s patient information leaflet, before getting the vaccine. Afterwards, each person vaccinated was given a vaccine record card, showing the name and batch of the vaccine they have received. They will each return for their second dose, to be fully protected, in three weeks.
Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly said: “Today is a ray of light after what has been a trying year in our country. It is testament to the work of the medical and scientific communities that we now have safe and effective vaccines to help to protect us against the devastating effects of COVID-19. Our healthcare workers have worked day and night to care for their patients throughout this pandemic. I would like to acknowledge their dedication and commitment, and thank them for the central role they will play as we now move into administering the vaccines. While vaccines will help us in the fight against this pandemic, COVID-19 is still a threat to health and to our health services, and we must do everything we can to slow its spread. Please continue to follow the public health guidance, mind yourselves and mind your loved ones.”
Paul Reid, HSE CEO said today: “This vaccine has the power to protect people from COVID-19, and reduce the illness and deaths caused by this terrible virus. I am very proud to see the vaccinations commence today, safely, with thorough vaccinator training and patient centred communications at its heart. As we know, the vaccines will be delivered in stages – we’re starting in acute hospitals initially, and will move into long-term care facilities from next week, but this is a great start to an historic process.”
Dr. Colm Henry, HSE CCO added: “Today’s first vaccine will be a source of great relief and hope for people all over the country, particularly for older people, who have had to accept the greater risk to their health from COVID-19 and who have had to endure the consequences of social restrictions more than other groups in society. For now, the vaccine will enhance and not replace the public health measures which halt transmission of COVID-19. We want to build confidence in this vaccine which has been shown to be both safe and effective in trials to date.”
Mary Day, CEO of St. James’s Hospital said today: “St James’s Hospital is very proud to be the first hospital to offer the vaccine to our patients and staff today. All of our colleagues, our patients and their families have endured a difficult year as a result of COVID. While we have more to do, the hope that today brings is really welcome, and I thank our vaccinators and all our staff whose hard work ensured we are up and running, protecting our team and our patients, from today.”
Dr. Lucy Jessop, Director of the HSE’s National Immunisation Office, said: “Worldwide, vaccines save at least 2-3 million lives each year – and protect many more from crippling and lifelong illnesses. Only COVID-19 vaccines that have been authorised by the European Medicines Agency, having met stringent safety and effectiveness standards, will be used in Ireland. All COVID-19 vaccines will be carefully monitored over time and updated safety data and information will be published and shared by the HSE, on our website and in our printed information materials.”