People with certain conditions to be moved up in vaccine rollout priority list

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The Government has asked the Department of Health for a review into the sequencing of the vaccine rollout and this could mean people with certain underlying conditions will be moved up in the priority list.

The Irish Times reports that the National Immunisation Advisory Council (NIAC) has developed a paper on the issue while a source said the paper is endorsed by the National Public Health Emergency Team (Nphet).

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The paper incorporated the latest international and Irish data and looked specifically at the risks to people suffering with underlying health conditions.

Underlying conditions

Taoiseach Micheál Martin has previously said the Government is of the view that people who are immunosuppressed or have conditions like Parkinson’s or cystic fibrosis should be prioritised as they would face a much greater risk if they contract the virus.

Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly has received the report, and it is being “discussed” this weekend, according to The Irish Times.

The Government is due to announce a revised Living with Covid-19 plan this week which will look plan towards the easing of restrictions, although no firm dates are expected to be set.

The plan will set out estimated vaccination schedules and could specify which restrictions could be eased when certain targets are met.

On Saturday, Taoiseach Micheál Martin said he does not expect the hospitality sector to reopen before mid-summer.

Mr Martin said: “We don’t foresee that (reopening pubs etc) before the middle of the summer.

“What the public health authorities are saying is that we stick with this until end of April, then we reflect on the situation and make decisions about the months ahead.”

Reopening

He also told RTÉ that reopening the country will be a slow process.

“There won’t be much of a change (after this phase) because the numbers are still too high,” he said.

“What we intend is to reopen schools gradually, it will be slow, we’ll be cautious, because we have to monitor the effect on the virus.

“The biggest challenge we face is new variants as they could impact the vaccines.

“It’s sensible to open slowly, as the vaccines are coming.”

 

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