We are all nearly a year into living with COVID-19 here in Ireland and we are once again back in a Level 5 Lockdown. This lockdown appears to have an extension now until the end of February.
With this and more going on right now, it can be easy to fall into despair. We all begin to focus on the negatives, what we can’t do, where we can’t go, and who we can’t see. But I recently read something that helped me put things back into perspective recently.
You are not stuck at home, you are safe at home.
While the world is trying to learn how to cope, let’s all be a little kinder to one another and ourselves. Give yourself and each other a break and try to focus on the positive.
One very big positive I can see right now is that we have a vaccine and the Irish government is ramping up its distribution. We are in fact the second most vaccinated country in Europe right now (behind Denmark) and that is definitely something positive to hold onto.
The rollout of the vaccine will be done in 3 phases (depending on its availability) and distributed to categorised priority groups.
We have gladly gathered all the information we could get our hands-on with regards to the COVID-19 vaccine and have all the information you could need below.
What Are The Priority Groups?
* Medical Conditions That Make You A Priority In Group 5:
- Chronic heart disease (this includes hypertension with cardiac involvement)
- Chronic respiratory disease (including asthma where you need continuous or repeated use of systemic steroids or with previous exacerbations where you required hospital admission)
- Diabetes – both type 1 and 2
- Chronic kidney disease, Liver disease, or neurological disease
- Immunosuppression due to disease or treatment
- BMI (Body Mass Index) is greater than 40
COVID-19 Vaccine Phases:
Right now it appears that Ireland has 3 phases of the vaccine rollout. The initial rollout phase, the mass ramp-up phase, and the open access phase.
Phase 1 – Initial Rollout:
Right now we are in the first phase of the vaccine rollout. It is here where those who are most at risk of contracting the virus will get the vaccine first.
This phase is where we will see a limited number of doses available as we are dependent on supply availability.
Phase 2 – Mass Ramp-up:
Once a larger number of doses becomes available, the second phase will begin with the largest number of people being vaccinated.
We don’t yet know when this phase will begin. The word is that we might see it in the 2nd quarter of the year (April, May & June).
Phase 3 – Open Access:
This is where the remaining people who have yet to receive the vaccine are eligible. This would involve the priority groups down near the end of the list.
Where Can I Get The Vaccine?
Right now you can only be vaccinated through:
- Mass vaccination clinics
- Your Doctors Surgeries
- Community Pharmacies
How Will I Know It’s My Turn?
At the moment, you do not need to apply or register for the vaccine. The HSE will let you know when you can get the vaccine. We are currently in phase 1, this may change when we enter phase 2 of the rollout.
Understanding Your COVID-19 Appointment:
You will get the vaccine as an injection in your upper arm. This will take a few minutes.
The vaccine is administered in 2 doses. Your second dose will be at least:
- 21-28 days after your first dose if you get the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine
- 28 days (4 full weeks) after your first dose if you get the Moderna vaccine.
Are There Any Recommendations?
Thanks to a study carried out by TILDA research team in Trinity there is a correlation between exercise and the effectiveness of the COVID-19 vaccine among the vulnerable groups.
The study states that regular aerobic or moderate exercise in the weeks/months prior to the vaccine can help improve antibody response in older people (60+).
Vaccine effectiveness in the elderly can be a challenge due to the aging effects on the immune system. As we age, our ability to produce a strong antibody response after any vaccination declines. Basically, this means the elderly are less like to generate long-term protection for full immunity to the virus.
While exercise has many benefits like improving our mood and wellbeing, studies now show that it will improve the antibody response and their recommendation here is to try and carry out a 30-minute walk 2-3 times a week. A walk that increases your breathing rate will help.
This of course should be something you discuss firstly with your Doctor.
Reasons Why I Can’t Get The Vaccine:
- Your priority group is not up for vaccination yet.
- Currently have COVID-19 – to get the vaccine you must wait 4 weeks since you first noticed symptoms or you first tested positive.
- Have a fever (temperature of 38 degrees celsius or above)
- You have an allergic reaction to any of the ingredients in the vaccine.
Is the Vaccine Free?
There is no need to worry, the COVID-19 vaccine will be available free of charge for everyone in Ireland. One thing to remember is that the vaccine will not be available privately.
NOTE: Please be aware that the COVID-19 vaccine will offer you protection from the virus. The vaccine does not stop you from spreading the virus so please follow all of the COVID-19 health and safety guidelines even after you have been vaccinated.
If you need any more information please feel free to visit the HSE website or GOV.ie
It’s a waiting game and we all need to be patient. What better way to be patient than with a soothing cup of tea with your very own Uccello Kettle. Feel free to click here now to learn more about getting your own Uccello Kettle.