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20 Jan 2022

Dr Tony Holohan makes booster appeal to Irish people as Delta surges and Omicron emerges

Gardaí called to protest staged at Dr Tony Holohan's house at weekend

Chief Medical Officer Dr Tony Holohan

Dr Tony Holohan has spot the spotlight on the importance of getting the Covid-19 booster vaccine while also reminding the public of the basic steps to prevent infects of a disease that is still seeing very sick people being treated to hospitals around Ireland.

The Chief Medical Officer is optimistic that the vaccines will prove effective against Omicron but he says Delta-driven infections are having a big impact on the health service.

The Head of NPHET made his remarks after the Health Protection Surveillance Centre was notified of 4,607 confirmed cases of COVID-19.

As of 8am Monday, November 29 there were 579 COVID-19 patients are hospitalised, of whom 115 are in ICU.

 Dr Tony Holohan, Chief Medical Officer, Department of Health, appealed to the public to take heed of the reality of the situation.

“Our high incidence of disease from COVID-19 continues to have a significant impact on our health service. We are still seeing a concerning number of people who are in hospital and require critical care for COVID-19. This wave of infection is driven by the highly transmissible Delta variant of COVID-19.

“We know that the news of the Omicron variant is causing some concern. However, we also know how to break the chains of transmission of COVID-19 – these measures have worked against previous variants of COVID-19, they can successfully suppress transmission of the Delta variant and we are optimistic that they will work against the Omicron variant.

“It is vital that if you experience and symptoms of COVID-19 that you isolate immediately and arrange a PCR test – not an antigen test.

“Vaccination remains one of the best ways to protect ourselves from severe illness and death from COVID-19. We know that last week, more than 10,000 people came forward to receive a first dose of COVID-19 vaccine, this is great news, and we would encourage anyone yet to receive a first dose to come forward for vaccination as soon as possible.

“We are now offering a third booster dose of COVID-19 vaccine to all those aged 16-years and older. Please prioritise your booster vaccine appointment as soon as you are called for it. We have seen encouraging signs in the decreasing levels of infection among those age groups that have received their booster dose and so, the importance of coming forward cannot be overstated.

“I would also like to note that the seasonal flu (influenza) vaccine is still available to adults and children and I encourage people of all ages to avail of it. The flu vaccine will help protect you against flu and reduce the spread of flu to others such as siblings, parents and grandparents. Children and young people aged 2 to 17 can get the nasal flu vaccine for free,” he concluded.

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