Irish Army Flies Vaccine to Inhabitants of Tiny Island

Even people in far-flung places need the vaccine.

Army pilots landed their helicopter on the tiny Irish island of Arranmore just before lunch on Thursday and handed over their precious cargo of COVID-19 vaccines to Dr. Kevin Quinn and his grinning daughter Aoife.

The arrival of first batch of shots last month was a “joyous occasion”, Quinn said. Thursday’s delivery of second doses was even more momentous – he reckons he will now be able to fully vaccinate around half the population, which is less than 500 people, in the next few days.

The two army pilots took one hour and 40 minutes to fly in from the Casement Aerodrome military air base on the outskirts of Dublin. Aoife, who works as a nurse on Arranmore, helped her father and the crew carry the frozen boxes of Moderna shots to his car, parked down a lane.

“We’re privileged to get the second doses so soon and grateful of the recognition of the unique need of isolated communities,” Quinn said after seeing the helicopter arrive.

“The mood was incredible after the first vaccine, a lovely joyous occasion and one of the best days I’ve had in general practice.”

Ireland has administered 536,000 vaccines among its population of 4.9 million to healthcare workers, care home residents and the most elderly. Just over 154,000 or 3% of the population have received the second of their two doses.

For the people of Arranmore, half of whom are above the age of 60, some normality is at last on the horizon. The island is one of a small number of areas where the majority are fluent in native Irish and many use it as their working language.

Dr. Quinn said:

“With an elderly population and a diaspora that mostly live in Dublin, Glasgow or America, it’s been extremely difficult.  Hopefully this summer will be better than last.”

We all echo that sentiment.

 

 

 

 

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