Whitmore calls on Government to ensure easy access to vaccination centres in Wicklow

Social Democrats TD for Wicklow Jennifer Whitmore has called on the Government to ensure that those due to receive vaccinations have easy access to vaccination centres in Wicklow. Vaccination centres have been announced for Arklow Bay Hotel and Conference Centre, Sea Road, Ferrybank, Arklow and Charlesland Golf Club, Greystones.

Speaking on the issue, Deputy Whitmore says…

“I welcome the rollout of vaccination centres across the country as we enter a new and more hopeful stage of dealing with COVID 19 and welcome the fact that two centres will be provided in Wicklow.

“However, there have been a lot of concerns about people getting access to vaccination centres in Wicklow particularly if they are elderly and do not live near public transport. Wicklow is a very dispersed county with many rural areas that have little to no public transport available.

“For example, in west Wicklow, the nearest vaccination centre is Punchestown in Co. Dublin however, residents will need access to a car to get there and this may not be the case for many older people in particular.

“It would have been ideal to have smaller but more numbers of vaccination centres for example in local GAA halls, however if this is not a possibility at this stage the very least the Government can do is to ensure that transport options are available to people to access their nearest centre. This could be done through reimbursements for taxi fares or the provision of public transport solely for the purposes of getting to and from the centres. 

“There also needs to be clarity for those people who may not be able to access either of these centres and whether they will be able to contact their local GP in this instance or their local pharmacy.

“Either way, I will be asking the Minister questions in relation to this to ensure that access is at the top of the agenda so that everyone has equal access to the vaccination programme” concludes Whitmore.

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