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GPs slam expectation of elderly island residents to travel to mainland for vaccine

A GP located on the Aran Islands, Co. Glaway, has said that the island’s population – particularly the elderly – should not be expected to travel to the Irish mainland to be vaccinated against covid-19.

Dr. Marion Broderick, based in Inis Móir, said that rural GPs “expect the HSE to meet the challenge” of transporting the vaccine to island populations.

Speaking on RTÉ’s Today with Claire Byrne, she said that her island has over 100 residents over the age of 70, and 19 over the age of 85, with other islands having populations “not much more than the size of a nursing home.” She claims that forcing them to travel would involved “putting them on a boat and busing them” to a vaccination centre on the Irish mainland, which would be weather dependent. This could be complicated considering the Met Eireann nationwide weather warnings for next week.

Dr. Broderick claims that the boat from Inis Mór leaves at 8.30am and returns at 6pm, meaning that residents travelling for vaccination would be left stranded in Galway all day with nowhere open due to the covid-19 lockdown, unable to even “get a cup of tea”.

Meanwhile, another Galway GP on the same program, Dr. Peter Sloane based in Carraroe, said that the use of vaccination centres at the local GAA or Parish Hall for those over 70 in rural Ireland will cause “a pile of issues”, asking who would assume legal liability for the centres and how residents would learn where to go from their GP.

There has been controversy surrounded a “postcode lottery” system for vaccinations, where urban residents in big cities will largely be vaccinated by their own GPs, while rural residents will be travelling to the aforementioned vaccination centres, according to the HSE today.

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