Sports centre turned into vaccine hub

The Killarney Vaccination Centre located at the Killarney Sports and Leisure Centre off the the Killarney bypass road.
Pictures: Domnick Walsh

IT is familiar territory for basketball fans, those who enjoy a swim or a workout and political anoraks who lap up the tension and excitement of election counts.

But now one of Killarney’s landmark buildings is playing a much more important role.

This is the revamped Killarney Sports and Leisure Centre which has been transformed into a mass vaccination centre to help roll-out the Covid-19 vaccines in the days, weeks and months ahead.

The state-of-the-art sports facility will be used by the Health Service Executive to administer vaccines to the public who are deemed next in line in terms of Department of Health and public health service criteria.

The basketball court at the centre, off the by-pass road, has been divided into partitioned cubicles to ensure the vaccinations can take place in private and to adhere to social distancing requirements.

The centre is familiar territory for sports enthusiasts and during local and general election but now it has a much more important role to play

The locations in Killarney and at the Kerry Sports Academy at the Munster Technological University in Tralee have been secured by the South/South West Hospital Group and Cork Kerry Community Healthcare as part of a national network of up to 40 nationwide.

The HSE says its priority will be to ensure that the vaccination roll-out continues to be safe and efficient.

A company that provides agency nurses has embarked on a major recruitment drive for staff to help in vaccination centres and additional nurses will supplement the HSE teams.

While some vaccines are now being administered in healthcare settings by GPs and practice nurses, members of the public will be also be offered vaccinations in the new centres.

The centres will vary in terms of operating hours and were selected based on population density, ease of access, transport and parking availability.

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