Up 1,100 housebound vaccine appointments unaccounted for says Naughten

In Health, News, Older People by Denis Naughten

Up to 1,100 appointments by the National Ambulance Service for people over the age of 70 are unaccounted for based on evidence presented to Dáil Éireann yesterday, says Denis Naughten TD.

“These unaccounted-for vaccination appointments are now clearly the reason why 1,000 people awaiting their first vaccine dose did not receive it by last Sunday week, as planned by the HSE, and instead this will now be delayed by one month,” said Denis Naughten.

“The figures presented to the Dáil yesterday by Minister Mary Butler, Minister for Older People, do not add up and are also at variance with information provided directly by the HSE, resulting in a minimum of 600 to 1,100 vaccination appointments being unaccounted for. This is enough to ensure that every housebound person could have received their initial vaccination by now.”

Denis Naughten added: “The HSE told my colleague Cllr. Dr Evelyn Parsons on 31st March – twenty days after the vaccination of the housebound started – that there were 2,700 initial referrals by GPs for home vaccination and this was likely to reduce after validation. However, Minister Butler told the Dáil yesterday 3,200 initial referrals were made and that the figure subsequently went up.

“This is a minimum discrepancy of 500 initial referrals. Both figures cannot be correct.

“Secondly, based on the estimate provided to the Dáil yesterday by Minister Butler the ambulance service should have undertaken 2,400 appointments in the last six weeks. In other words, the dedicated ambulance vaccination crews should have physically attended 2,400 homes.

“However, Minister Butler told the Dáil that the HSE has offered just 1,800 appointments, and that these offers may not all be taken up for a range of reasons, including refusal or a person entering long-term care or being unwell.

“This is a minimum discrepancy of 600 appointments.

“These two figures alone, without even considering appointments cancelled, would have generated an additional 1,100 appointments – enough to ensure that every person waiting for their first vaccine jab would have received it by today.

“These figures are contradictory and don’t add up. Clearly this system is failing, and older people stuck at home for the last 12 months are being denied access to visitors because of this debacle.

“I intend to take this matter up directly with the Minister for Health on the floor of Dáil Éireann next week,” concluded Denis Naughten.


Editor’s Note:

From: Dr. Evelyn Francis Parsons <efrancisparsons@cllr.galwaycoco.ie>
Sent: 31 March 2021 17:35
To: Denis Naughten <Denis.Naughten@oireachtas.ie>;
Subject: Fwd: Update on Covid 19 Vaccinations for the Housebound.

From: Regional Health Forum Western Area <RHF.West@hse.ie>
Sent: Wednesday, March 31, 2021 5:21:58 PM
Subject: Update on Covid 19 Vaccinations for the Housebound.


Dear Members


At the Regional Health Forum meeting of 23rd March I undertook to follow up on the issue of those who require the Covid 19 Vaccination to be administered to them at home for various reasons.


The National Ambulance Service (NAS) are administering the Covid 19 Vaccinations to housebound patients over 70 years.

To facilitate this, GPs were requested to make the referrals to a dedicated email address in consultation with the patients.

There were approximately 2700 referrals received, this number may reduce following validation.


To date approximately 800 vaccines have been administered across all counties. The expectation is that all first doses will be administered by week ending 11th April.


It is a difficult pathway as there are so many variables e.g. patients in hospital when first dose was due or the patient was in hospital and the first dose was administered, but NAS are working hard to liaise and resolve any issues.


I will keep you updated with any further developments.


Is mise, le meas



Antóin O Cheannabháin Tony Canavan 

Cathaoirleach Feidhmiúcháin Executive Chairperson, Regional Health Forum &

Chief Executive Officer, Saolta University Health Care Group



Dáil Éireann debate –
Thursday, 22 Apr 2021

Covid-19 Vaccination Programme: Statements


Minister of State at the Department of Health (Deputy Mary Butler)

Throughout the course of Ireland’s vaccination programme, we have sought to ensure the administration of vaccines is conducted in a manner that is fair and has due regard to the protection of the most vulnerable in our society. I am pleased to note, in that regard, the significant positive impact the programme has had in long term care facilities, including nursing homes. The positivity rate for the current cycle of serial testing in nursing homes is down to 0.11%.

The vaccination programme has now been extended to people aged 65 to 69 and the vaccine portal opens for everyone aged 60 to 64 tomorrow morning. The HSE is asking people aged 64 to register first on Friday and the process will then work down through those aged 63 to 60. More information can be found at vaccine.hse.ie. As of 17 April, more than 95,000 individuals who are at very high risk of being negatively affected by the symptoms of Covid-19 have received their first vaccination dose. There are 25 mass vaccination centres fully operational as of today, vaccinating people between 60 and 69, including the Waterford Institute of Technology arena, Carlow Institute of Technology and Cillín Hill conference centre at Kilkenny. Vaccination of those over 70 has already been administered in many of these centres.

These are positive steps. Over time, we will see further positive measures being put in place and further resources being assigned to ensure the vaccination of every individual who wishes to receive the vaccine. I acknowledge, with huge thanks, the hard work of the HSE, its vaccinator teams, general practitioners and others that have contributed their time and effort to achieving this level of progress.

I will now refer to housebound vaccinations as there have been many questions asked about this in recent weeks. To date, in excess of 3,500 referrals have been received as part of the housebound vaccine programme. Due to the complexity of the triage process, which involves follow-up with both referring GP, individuals to be vaccinated and their family, a number of additional referrals are awaiting triage, and as such this figure is likely to increase further. So far, as part of this programme the HSE has offered more than 1,800 appointments to people referred by their GP. Appointments may not be completed for a range of reasons, including refusal or a person entering long-term care or being unwell. The National Ambulance Service continues to follow up on these appointments.

The ambulance service is currently operating a seven-day service which deploys more than ten vehicles each day to undertake between 50 and 60 appointments, with around 400 appointments each week. The length of time it is taking to complete the project is driven by the complexities involved in triaging referrals, logistics of vaccine delivery and the requirement for more than 30 to 40 minutes at each residence. In around 10% of cases, visits can take up to 50 minutes due to medical histories, which require a 30-minute observation period. As individuals to be vaccinated are dispersed throughout the country, it can also take ambulance staff a considerable amount of time per visit to reach their destinations. The completion of first doses as part of this programme is expected in May 2021 while the second dose is expected to conclude in June 2021. To provide assurance to the individuals and their families who still await vaccination under the programme, the HSE will make direct contact with them over the coming days, starting today.

The initial number in this cohort was 3,200 but much work has been done and more people have come into the scheme. …..