The HSE’s vaccination team have packed up and handed the keys of Knocknarea Arena back to the Institute of Technology Sligo after eight months and the administration of over 110,000 vaccines.
The institutes sports venue was identified as the perfect location for mass vaccination due to its size, access to parking and its close proximity to Sligo University Hospital.
When the HSE looked for a suitable venue for mass vaccination the institute volunteered the use of the Knocknarea Arena for as long as it was needed. President of IT Sligo said:
“It has been an honor for us to make our Knocknarea Arena freely available for the HSE mass vaccination centre and on behalf of the institute I would like to thank the frontline workers from the HSE, Irish Defence Forces, Gardai and everyone else involved including our own Estates team, in this mammoth task. To think 110,000 vaccines have been administrated from this building in just eight short months, is an incredible achievement by the HSE and one the region and nation is proud of.”
The vaccination centre at IT Sligo’s Knocknarea Arena serviced a huge region including Sligo, south Donegal, Mayo and Leitrim.
On the last clinic in this location Sligo Vaccination Centre Manager, Siobhan McEniff reflected on a very successful rollout with 90% of the eligible population now vaccinated:
“We began vaccinating in the Knocknarea Arena at the end of February and since day one we have received incredible support from the management and staff of IT Sligo. We are very grateful to the Institute for facilitating the Sligo Vaccination Centre in their sports centre. It is an excellent, high tech, accessible venue which enabled our vaccination teams to deliver over 110,000 COVID-19 vaccines to the people of Sligo and neighbouring counties.
“Our Programme Team are in the process of relocating the Sligo Vaccination Centre from IT Sligo to the Sligo Racecourse. The first clinics are planned to take place next week. People who are due to get their second dose vaccination and those who are immunocompromised will automatically receive an appointment at the Racecourse Vaccination Centre. We advise people who receive details of a COVID-19 vaccine appointment by text to read their text invitation message carefully and note the new location of the vaccination centre. Anyone who still needs a vaccine can come to a walk-in clinic and there is no change to operations at Carrick on Shannon Vaccination Centre.”
To mark the end of a remarkable journey, IT Sligo supplied cakes and light refreshments to frontline workers at the centre, as a small gesture of thanks.
Since the outbreak of the pandemic in Ireland back in February 2020, IT Sligo has worked closely with colleagues in SUH which is situated across the road from the institute.
At first they were able to produce reagents for testing in the institutes laboratories for SUH when supplies were low globally.
Following this the institute produced over 12,000 face visors for frontline workers through the support of 100 staff and student volunteers. The institute also designed and produced ventilators for use in emergencies, with support of consultants from SUH.
The Knocknarea Arena is now planning to open its doors to students and the general public soon with a hopeful return of Sligo Live later in October.