By Charlotte Lavin
Ballybrit Racecourse will be one of the 37 planned mass vaccination centers in the country.
Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly confirmed this on Monday.
Vaccines are currently being administered by general practitioners in healthcare settings and GP surgeries.
The operating date for the Ballybrit Racecourse mass vaccination centre has yet to be announced.
The Health Service Executive (HSE) has stated everyone aged 70 and over should receive their first dose of the vaccine by the end of May.
The HSE added that the centre will open when vaccine supply will be steady.
Sinn Féin TD, Mairéad Farrell, has expressed concern about the State’s decision to set only one mass vaccination in the whole county.
“Considering that Galway is the second-largest county in Ireland it does really need one in more localised settings.”, says Farell.
Currently Galway is the only county to have one mass vaccination centre.
Information has yet to be given about potential transports set in place by the Council. Concerns have been expressed by both citizens and politicians on the issue.
“If we take Cleggan, which is in Co Galway, it’s an hour and 40 minutes drive to get from there to Ballybrit for a vaccination. Not only is this not realistic, but public transport isn’t a viable option for people travelling from Clifden into Galway City”, says Ms Farrell, also expressing concerns about the Aran Islands situation. “Rural and isolated areas can’t be forgotten about.”
These worries are shared amongst other TDs. The decision to put the centre in a location that is not easily accessible for people without providing adequate means of transportation could “exclude people” from getting the vaccine, the Roscommon-Galway TD says.
Three vaccines have been approved for Ireland so far: AstraZeneca vaccine, Moderna vaccine and Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine.
As of Monday, 214,384 first dose and 126,320 second dose vaccines have been administered nationally. Over 90% are Pfizer BioNTech vaccines.
Follow the Galway Pulse on social media for the latest news and updates about when eligible residents can receive their COVID-19 vaccination.