RESIDENTS in the Border village of Swanlinbar have expressed their delight at finally being able to start receiving their Covid-19 vaccinations.

While Northern Ireland has now moved on to people aged 50 and over being eligible for vaccinations, the Republic has had significant problems with vaccine distribution, to date.

One couple who received the vaccine were Etta (89) and Owen Doonan (88), who live in the Border area.

Speaking about her wait for the vaccine, Etta said: “Seeing as we are 88 and 89, a lot of the other smaller towns were getting it before us, and maybe the fact was that we are on the Border [and perhaps that affected how or when we were set to get vaccines in the area].

“We are on the Southern side, but just about – our health centre is right on the Border.

“Everyone else in our age group, and more, were getting them [vaccines] weeks and weeks before.

“We have friends and family in Kinawley and were sort of saying [to ourselves], ‘Look at how everybody at their age can get it’. But it was very good to get it at the time.”

Speaking on the wider community wait, Etta added: “There was a fair amount of people in their 80s who hadn’t got it.”

Fianna Fáil Councillor John Paul Feeley said the news of the vaccine’s arrival was welcomed by patients of the practice and their families who have “been waiting anxiously for confirmation of the availability of the vaccine”.

He continued: “It is unfortunately amongst the last practices to get the vaccine, but now that the issues have all been addressed, the flow of vaccines should now progress for patients on the same basis as all other practices over the coming weeks.

“The HSE have worked closely to address the requirement for the practice to administer the vaccine, including upgrading the defibrillator in the surgery, and arranging an agency nurse for the practice to complete the inoculation of patients.

“I thank the relevant officials for their work on this important issue.”

Councillor Feeley said that people who had contacted him over recent weeks felt “left behind” waiting for the vaccine to arrive, with reports of others in the general locality getting their injections.

“These most vulnerable people can now look forward to the protection the vaccine gives and the hope in the coming weeks of getting back to some normality.

“The patients from Swanlinbar, Corlough, Glangevlin and Bawnboy areas will be relieved and delighted with this confirmation,” he said.