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12th Jun 2021

Single parents have been turned away from Covid-19 vaccine centres in Ireland

single parents have experienced being turned away from vaccination centres

A solution has to be found.

The Covid-19 vaccination program in Ireland is well underway.

Last week, the HSE portal opened for everyone over the age of 40, meaning everyone in this age group are now free to register for their Covid-19 vaccine. And, as of next week, the portal will open for people aged in their late 30s.

However, as people are being told to show up for their vaccination appointments alone, some one-parent families across the country have experienced being turned away from their local vaccination centre or met with refusal when trying to reschedule their appointment for a time when they can access childcare.

Speaking to RTÉ about the matter, CEO of One Family, Karen Kiernan, says that people who cannot find childcare to attend a Covid-19 vaccination appointment alone should be assisted rather than refused permission, and says her organisation is seeking clarity from the Health Service Executive on the matter.

Considering 1 in 5 people in Ireland live in a one-parent family, this is clearly a possible major issue for so many, and Kiernan says she absolutely believes it should be possible for people to request an alternative time when older children might be at school, or if they have to bring a young child that they could attend at a quieter time.

Kiernan says One Family has been contacted by people who said they were refused entry to a vaccination centre because they had their children with them, and believes this will be an ongoing issue over the summer, as schools break for holidays, and more parents will have their children with them all day.

Speaking on RTÉ’s Today with Damian O’Reilly, Kiernan said she had also heard anecdotally that workers at a vaccination centre suggested that children are left in the car while their parent gets their vaccine.

This, Kiernan is keen to point out, is neither safe nor appropriate, particularly, she says, if the parent should have an adverse reaction to the jab.

However, Kiernan stress she believes workers at the vaccination centres across the country are doing ‘a fantastic job,’ but says not everyone is in a position to arrange childcare to attend their vaccination appointments, and that this is something that is going to get even trickier for many as the summer holiday approaches.

“If we want to include everybody, and we want everybody to be safe, then we need to come up with ways of doing that.”

We want to know – are YOU a single parent? Have you organised childcare for your vaccination appointment? What would you do if you could not get childcare? Let us know in the comments!