Naas Racecourse could be used for Covid-19 jabs


Paul O'Meara


Paul O'Meara


Naas Racecourse could be used for Covid-19 jabs

Naas Racecourse

Naas Racecourse is available for possible use as a Covid-19 vaccination centre as the vaccine rollout gathers pace — notwithstanding concerns about the AstraZeneca jab.

However the racecourse’s general manager Eamonn McEvoy said that the racetrack is also a working environment and any plans for using the venue as a centre would have to take account of that.

Horseracing is one of the few sports to remain largely unaffected by the coronavirus pandemic.

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“We would love to help and if we can we will,” said Mr McEvoy.

Racecourse management has said that the facility is available subject to suitability.

The HSE was initially reluctant to use it because the largest indoor area has a number of pillars; however the track is also willing to facilitate a marquee centre and the HSE has been provided with video images of the racetrack buildings to assess the suitability of these. The HSE says there are no immediate plans to use Naas as a vaccination centre.

In a statement it said the vaccination centre in Citywest has been set up with a potential capacity of up to 50 vaccination bays.

Other locations identified include Athlone IT with an anticipated capacity of up to 50 vaccination bays and the Punchestown convention centre with a capacity of 20 vaccination bays.

Other smaller vaccination centres have also been identified across the integrated area for Laois, Offaly, Westmeath, Longford, Meath and Louth.

“These centres will come on stream as needed, with a dedicated workforce being central to achieving full operational status.

All centres will be ready in advance of the need to match vaccine supply which, based on current information, is forecast to reach a peak in between this month and June,” added a HSE spokeswoman. At least one centre will open in each county. County Kildare appears more likely than many others to have a second centre because of demand.

It is the fourth most populated county in the Republic with a total figure of 220,504 residents, according to the most recent census, in 2016.