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Teachers and frontline workers feel let down by vaccine schedule

April 3rd, 2021 11:40 PM

By Kieran O'Mahony

The Taoiseach has been slammed for his lack of consultation over vaccine schedule changes.

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FRONTLINE workers,as well as those working in the hospitality sector, have said they are very disappointed with the latest government announcement on Covid.

GRA rep for the Cork West Division, Gda Jason Collins told The Southern Star that their members are extremely angry about the move to change the vaccine programme to an age-based system.

‘We feel betrayed and we’ve been let down by the government and it beggars belief what they have done, ’ said Gda Collins

‘They put us on the frontline and we’ve done everything they’ve asked us and it seems like a complete disregard for our safety and for the public’s safety as well.’

Anne Loughnane, a secondary school teacher from Ballylickey and an ASTI representative for West Cork and Cork city South said their members are ‘shocked’ by the sudden announcement made without any consultation.

‘We are really questioning the government when they say their key objection is to keep schools open, when they are disregarding the health of the teachers who won’t be receiving this vaccine for a long time,’ she said.

‘People in their 50s who are working from home will be vaccinated long before teachers who are expected to go into classrooms, full of young people for long periods each day.’

Dave O’Halloran of the Lifeboat Inn in Courtmacsherry said the pub sector had again been ‘left in limbo’ with no specific date for re-opening.

‘It’s very disappointing and we don’t know where we stand and it’s very hard to plan for staff and investment for the season ahead.

‘Taoiseach Micheál Martin could have been a little bit more optimistic,’ said Dave.

‘The timing of the announcement of the €17m fund for outdoor dining was very calculated too, and a bit like the cart before the house. It won’t help me if we have a wet summer.’

The Taoiseach defended the change to the vaccination schedule saying the new priority lists would ensure the most vulnerable were vaccinated first. He also announced that a national portal for people to register for a vaccine will be up and running by the third week in April.

Meanwhile, gardaí have said they will be patrolling beaches and amenity areas in West Cork over the Easter bank holiday weekend to ensure people are continuing to obey the 5km rule which remains in place until April 12th.

However, there are fears that many people have travelled or will travel to West Cork to  stay in holiday homes in the area before this.

Acting Director of Public Health for the region Dr Anne Sheahan said: ‘I understand it will tempting to visit friends and family. Unfortunately, I also know from our experience after Christmas that visits between households greatly sped up the spread of Covid-19.  We are now close to a major ramping up of the vaccination roll-out, and we need to hold on just a little longer.’

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