A GP based on the Aran Islands has said that island populations should be vaccinated in their locality and older people should not be expected to travel to the mainland for vaccination. 

Dr Marion Broderick - who is based on Inis Móir - said that while it is a challenge, rural GPs "expect the HSE to meet the challenge" of transporting the vaccine and organising teams to deliver it to island populations, as travelling can be an ordeal in the current circumstances. 

Speaking on RTÉ's Today with Claire Byrne, she said Inis Móir has over 100 residents aged over 70, and 19 residents aged over 85, adding that some smaller islands have total populations "not much more than the size of a nursing home". 

In some cases on smaller islands it would make more sense to vaccinate the entire population on the same day, she said, given the logistics of storing and transporting the vaccine and for working people to lose a day to travel for it. 

She said not to vaccinate the older population on Inis Móir locally would mean "putting them on a boat and busing them" to the vaccination centre, possibly in Galway, and this would be weather-dependent. 

She said the boat leaves at 8.30am and returns at 6pm, leaving them "to hang around Galway with nothing open and you cannot get a cup of tea". 

She said general practice is up for this all across rural Ireland, that it is possible to use GAA halls and parish halls to vaccinate people. 

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Meanwhile, a Galway GP has has said the use of centralised vaccination centres to administer Covid-19 vaccines to the over 70's raises "a pile of issues".

Speaking on the same programme, Dr Peter Sloane – who is based in Carraroe -questioned who is going to be responsible for running the centres. 

He also queried who carries the indemnity for them, and asked how GP's will inform their patients of where to go for the vaccine. 

However, he said he is prepared to put up with any inconvenience and that the most important thing is making this vaccine available to his patients as safely and effectively as possible.

He said the over 70's need a bit of hope to know they are getting it as quickly as possible and described the "psychological boost" the vaccines give people. 

"Across the board the over 70's want it and want it yesterday". 

Dr Sloane said GP's are very effective in getting things done efficiently and they know their patients. 

"They know us and trust us."