NPHET statement reveals Covid-19 vaccination plan not finalised with an update on the incidence spread

Evidence also reemerging that people with symptoms are slow to get tested

Conor Ganly


Conor Ganly


coronavirus covid-19

Laois GP Dr Michelle gets Moderna jab in Portlaoise as a mass vaccination clinic for primar care

People with Covid-19 symptoms are once again delaying going to their GP while progress in driving down the incidence of the disease further will slow due to more testing according to NPHET members on a day when the official number of the disease in Ireland passed the 200,000 mark.

The daily statement from NPHET gave reasons for not giving the AstraZeneca plan to the elderly but also revealed the vaccination plans are still not finalised.

Dr Tony Holohan, Chief Medical Officer, Department of Health spoke about the vaccination decision not to give the AstraZeneca vaccine to the over 70s.

“We know that the over 70s have suffered the greatest burden of mortality and serious illness from COVID-19. Ireland is now in a good position; we can now offer highly effective and safe vaccines to this cohort.”

“The superior efficacy demonstrated by the mRNA vaccines authorised for use in Ireland, Pfizer BioNTech and Moderna mean that the mRNA vaccines are the right vaccine to provide the highest level of protection available to those over 70,” he said.

He urged people how have been vaccinated to continue to follow the rules designed to restrict spread so that those waiting to be immunised are not put at risk.

“Over the coming weeks, we will see many more of our vulnerable loved ones receive their COVID-19 vaccinations. This is good news and gives all of us great hope. However, even if you have received your COVID-19 vaccine, you must continue to wash your hands, wear a face covering, maintain a social distance and keep your close contacts to a minimum. Until we have all been vaccinated, we must act as though none of us have been vaccinated,” he said.

Dr Lucy Jessop is the Director, National Immunisation Office (NIO) which overseas vaccinations. She revealed that work is ongoing on a Covid-19 plan the first set of Irish people who are not at the frontline or living in long term residential care.

“The NIO works with colleagues across the HSE and in primary care to administer millions of vaccines every year. We are using our vast expertise and experience to deliver the COVID-19 Vaccination Programme safely and securely.

“My colleagues and I in the National Immunisation Office are continuing to work hard to finalise our preparations, ensuring we are ready to administer safe and effective vaccines to the most vulnerable in our society as they are called for vaccination,” she said.

Dr Ronan Glynn, Deputy Medical Officer, Department of Health, reminded the public about some home truths.

 “Today we have reached another significant and unwelcome milestone as we report more than 200,000 confirmed cases. We must all redouble our efforts and drive down the incidence of disease in our community.

“We are noticing a clear pattern in people with symptoms delaying contacting their GP to arrange a test. It is vital that as soon as you notice that you have symptoms of COVID-19 that you isolate and contact your GP immediately. By acting quickly, we can prevent the spread of COVID-19 and protect our vulnerable loved ones,” he said.

Professor Philip Nolan, Chair of the NPHET Irish Epidemiological Modelling Advisory Group, gave an update on the decreasing incidence but warned people that more work lies ahead.

“The next few weeks will be difficult for all of us, as we bring the daily case levels below 1,000 per day, our progress will seem to slow down. It is now more important than ever that we continue our efforts to bring case numbers down towards the very low levels we achieved in June and July. In that regard, it is very good news that our estimates of the R number are well below one – in the region of 0.5 – 0.8.

“I noted last week that the testing of close contacts will impact on case numbers in the coming days. We shouldn’t be disappointed by this, it shows that we have moved from the mitigation phase of the last few weeks, back to the containment phase where we are tracking down every possible chain of transmission,” he said.