HOMELESS people living in Ireland's capital are set to receive Covid-19 vaccinations from next week, the Health Service Executive (HSE) has confirmed.
The rollout has been planned for months by the Dublin Regional Homeless Executive (DRHE), alongside the HSE and other organisations looking to help out rough sleepers in the Dublin area.
An initial 700 doses of the Pfizer Covid-19 vaccine have been set aside specifically for homeless individuals, and will be administered by the HSE in a specific healthcare facility.
The HSE and homeless services acknowledge the difficulties in reaching people who may have no fixed home, but it's understood that the Dublin Fire Brigade will be working to assist in the transportation of people to the facility, starting with very high-risk individuals living in hostels across the city.
Initially, the Johnson & Johnson vaccine was identified as the ideal jab for the initiative, due to the fact that it's a single-dose inoculation, but recent concerns about the safety of the vaccine caused a delay in its delivery to Ireland.
The nation was expected to receive around 600,000 doses of the shot between April and June, but nothing is expected to arrive until later in the year.
There are an estimated 3,000 homeless people in Dublin city in addition to 700 families living in hotels, according to official figures, as well as hundreds of people living in long-term accommodation provided by Peter McVerry Trust, Focus Ireland and other homeless providers.
A spokesperson for Focus said the rollout of the vaccination programme for people in Dublin who are homeless "is a massively positive step forward in the fight against Covid".
"Focus Ireland's approach is to continue to follow public health advice and encourage both frontline staff and people who are homeless to avail of the vaccine at the earliest opportunity.
"We all have our part to play in this programme and it is a very positive development."