HSE not using all available resources for vaccine rollout


TMB Ready to Assist Government with National Vaccination Plan


Tropical Medical Bureau (TMB), the leading travel medicine clinic group in Ireland, is ready to assist the Irish government with the national Covid19 vaccine rollout.

Dr Graham Fry, Founder and Group Medical Director of TMB said, “we are well experienced in the administering of vaccinations. We are having difficulty in understanding why there has been no response from the Department of Health, the Health Minister, or the HSE to our offer of help with the vaccination roll-out strategy.”

TMB reached out to Irish government (March 2020), offering assistance and support, both staff and facilities, to the Minister for Health Mr. Stephen Donnelly, other ministers as well as the HSE.

i) To date, TMB has not been called on to assist with the vaccine rollout in Ireland.

ii) TMB is Ireland’s largest private vaccination company, with a team of highly trained and experienced vaccination doctors and nurses, with 20 clinics and drive-thru facilities nationwide and a mobile vaccination service. Yet, the HSE and their recruiters are signing up vaccinators with no vaccination experience. E.g., physiotherapists, paramedics, dentists.

iii) The HSE are desperate to recruit vaccinators. See below Facebook advert from last Sunday. Yet, they ignore TMB, Ireland’s most experienced vaccinator.

iv) We have known about the vaccines for almost six months and yet we seem only now to be putting the infrastructure in place to get our population covered.

v) As one of Ireland’s leading provider of vaccines, TMB administers on average 200,000 vaccines per annum, to both the private and public sector, in Ireland and the UK.

vi) TMB already provide travel and non-travel vaccination and screening services, to various government departments and to front-line services, such as An Gardai Siochana recruits.

vii) TMB was established in 1988 by Dr Graham Fry, who is also a lecturer in Clinical Tropical Medicine at TCD.

viii) mRNA Vaccines (Pfizer & Moderna).  are based around newer technology but all the evidence is extremely encouraging of both their safety and efficiency of coverage. These are the vaccines that are being recommended for the older age groups, because there is a lack of data on the efficiency of the Oxford vaccine in this population. However, both of these vaccines have serious storage challenges which means that they are not ideally suited to use outside of major vaccine hubs. The Moderna vaccine is less of a problem for storage but still has to be used within a short period of time following reconstitution. Both of these vaccines are ‘delicate’, and the ampoules must be treated very gently, and certainly not shaken. The instructions for use include the notable advice: “The vaccine can be transported as a hand‐carry (walked, no running) for a cumulative time of one hour between +2C to +25C.” Such instructions make me wonder how the vaccine can be used if the vaccinator has to travel to the home of an immobile elderly person to administer it.

ix) Oxford Astra Zeneca Vaccine. This vaccine is based on an ‘older’ technology that has been very successfully used for years. It is also known to be safe and effective in producing an immune response against Covid-19. At present, there is limited information as to the immune response to the Oxford vaccine in older age groups (>55 years), but that data should be available soon as it is being used widely in the UK for all ages. It is expected that the immune response in these older individuals may be less than what could be achieved through the use of the mRNA vaccines but, in the majority of cases, a reasonable level of protection would be achieved. When coupling the ease of storage and transportation with the lessening of the severity of illness, this has to be a worthwhile trade-off. It is possible that older age groups will require some variation in their dosage schedules to achieve even higher protective levels of cover, but that has to be a better option than the delayed administration of an mRNA vaccine to this hugely susceptible group. As we get older our immune system weakens. This is a normal part of the ageing process and often means that vaccines are not as effective in this group. As part of the childhood immunisation programme the Hepatitis B vaccine is an excellent option and will provide cover for almost 100% of children. However, in older age groups (over 35 years of age) the effectiveness is less. Often for older people more doses, or a stronger strength, of the vaccine is needed to achieve suitable cover. It is possible that a similar situation may occur with these Covid-19 vaccines, but that will only become evident in the months ahead. The other major advantage of using the Oxford vaccine as our default option against Covid-19 is that we could easily get supplies out to GP surgeries and vaccination clinics throughout the country. This is the approach being taken in the UK and strongly recommended by WHO. It is the right path for Ireland to take in order get our population covered, quickly and efficiently.

Reference: https://hbsrecruitmentservices.ie/vaccinator-covid-19-vaccination-programme-recruitment-faqs/


Dr Graham Fry is available for interview. Please contact Niamh Waters, niamh@travelmedia.ie, +353 860492394 to arrange.


Dr Graham Fry – Founder and Group Medical Director

The Tropical Medical Bureau was founded in 1986 by Dr Graham Fry. As the leading Tropical Medical Consultant in the country, Dr Fry plays a pivotal role in the organisation, whether consulting with patients, lecturing to medical students in Trinity College or dealing with media focussed tropical issues on radio and television. His enormous medical experience and expertise in technology have combined to ensure that the TMB occupies national pride of place in tropical medical care.


About Tropical Medical Bureau Group

The Tropical Medical Bureau Group (encompassing Nomad Travel in the UK) is the leading travel medicine clinic group in Ireland, specialists in providing the best information and medical care available for the international traveller. Collectively, the TMB Group sees approximately 60,000 patients on an annual basis, ranging from the private holiday maker to employees of commercial companies, and overseas volunteers to NGO’s and Government departments, all of whom benefit from the expertise of our highly experienced clinic staff.

Since it was founded in 1988, TMB has undergone major growth and expansion to currently encompass 30 clinics, 20 clinics in Ireland (four base clinics and 16 associate clinics). In 2016, TMB acquired Nomad Travel Clinics in the UK. Nomad Travel Clinics has 25 years’ experience in travel health, pharmacy & retail, throughout 10 clinics across the UK.

What distinguishes TMB is our vast experience and expertise, as well as our superb patient aftercare. All our patients have a detailed consultation with one of our specialised healthcare staff. This covers everything from food and water risks, mosquito avoidance, malaria and thrombosis, as well as risks associated from altitude exposure, and also Zika and COVID-19 risks, which may be associated with your trip. Following a detailed consultation, we then decide on which travel vaccines and malaria tablets are appropriate. Our specialised travel medicine software is constantly being updated with travel news, so if anything is happening in your destination that you need to be aware of, we will make sure you are.