Laois GP Dr Michelle Byrne receives the moderna vaccine at a mass primary care vaccination clinic in Portlaoise for GPs and other early in 2021
Ireland's biggest doctor's organisation is urging people to get vaccinated to help them and other healthcare professionals deal with a feared Christmas surge.
The Irish Medical Organisation's (IMO) President, Dr Ina Kelly, warned that the continuing high rate of infection threatens the progress Ireland has made against the virus over the past year.
According to the doctor, waiting lists are already "appalling" and said, "We can’t afford to lose hospital staff and hospital beds to Covid 19."
"The next couple of weeks will be critical not just for the outlook on Covid but for the wider health service. Our GP surgeries, hospitals and ICU units are all under extraordinary pressure. We are being hit by a perfect storm of high Covid numbers, the annual winter flu season and shockingly high numbers on waiting lists.
"For those who have yet to be vaccinated, please get the vaccine as a matter of urgency. For those who have been vaccinated, don’t treat the vaccine as a permission-slip to return to the old ways. Continue to exercise caution. Wear masks. Wash hands and keep your distance," she said.
The doctor is also urging hospitality venues to be more vigilant about checking the vaccination status of customers.
Dr Kelly warned here is "a significant proportion" of people not adhering to protocols, despite many who are.
"They are putting our hard-earned gains at risk. Everyone is fed up with the pandemic, but we have been through so much, endured so much now is not the time to lose our focus. And please be patient with healthcare workers in hospitals, in GP surgeries and in the community, we are working hard to do our best and we need your patience," she said.
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