Former GP in plea for vaccine roll out to third world

Former GP in plea for vaccine roll out to third world

17 February 2021

A RETIRED Dundrum GP has highlighted the lack of coronavirus vaccine for some of the poorest people in the world Dr Ronnie Hamilton is marking the moment he received his first dose of the coronavirus vaccine to raise awareness that four out of five people living in developing countries are not due to be vaccinated this year.

Dr Hamilton and his wife, May, who are both aged 87, received their jabs on January 14 at the surgery in Dundrum where he worked as a family doctor and Mrs Hamilton was manager and practice nurse.

In low income countries soap and water remain among the few defences against infection until vaccines are made widely available.

The couple, who are members of Castlewellan Interchurch Forum, have been Christian Aid supporters for many years.

Every year, during Lent, they help to organise soup lunches in Castlewellan Community Centre to raise funds for Christian Aid and Trócaire.

Since the lunches began in 2003, the Forum has raised thousands of pounds for the charities’ work to bring hope to people living in extreme poverty around the world.

Dr Hamilton said: “We have received our first jab and it did not cause any ill effects. We have a concern for people in the poorer countries of the world. They may have difficulty getting the vaccine and must rely on social distancing and hand washing.

“Normally at this time of year we would be helping with the annual Lent lunches but they have had to be cancelled because of the lockdown restrictions. But donations can be given in other ways to finance the supply of clean water and soap to facilitate frequent hand washing in those poorer countries.”

Christian Aid Ireland Chief Executive Rosamond Bennett thanked Dr and Mrs Hamilton for their support of Christian Aid.

“A global pandemic requires a global solution,” she said. “It is very worrying that developing countries are at the back of the queue for the vaccination roll-out, despite severely lacking essential healthcare such as ventilators or ICU beds to help those who fall sick from the virus.

“Vaccines must be made available to everyone, everywhere, free of charge. None of us is safe until all of us are safe.” Christian Aid has responded to the coronavirus pandemic in 27 countries which are also coping with extreme poverty.

As well as raising awareness of how to keep safe from coronavirus, Christian Aid has handed out soap to around 250,000 vulnerable people to help prevent the virus spreading.

The charity has also given food packages to nearly 60,000 people struggling to feed their families after losing work following lockdown.

To support Christian Aid’s work visit or telephone 028 9064 8133.