Question No. 591 answered with Question No. 503.

Question No. 592 answered with Question No. 447.

Vaccination Programme

Questions (593)

Christopher O'Sullivan

Question:

593. Deputy Christopher O'Sullivan asked the Minister for Health the schedule for vaccinating front-line workers, such as general practitioners and pharmacists; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [2650/21]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Health)

The COVID-19 Vaccine Allocation Strategy sets out a provisional list of groups for vaccination. The Strategy was developed by the National Immunisation Advisory Committee (NIAC) and my Department, endorsed by the National Public Health Emergency Team (NPHET), and approved by Government on 8 December 2020.

Vaccine allocation is a matter for my Department and further information is available here: https://www.gov.ie/en/publication/39038-provisional-vaccine-allocation-groups/ .

The rollout of the COVID-19 vaccination programme is the responsibility of the HSE.

The aim of the COVID-19 vaccination programme is to ensure, over time, that vaccine will become available to vaccinate all of those for whom the vaccine is indicated. Given that there will be initially limited vaccines available, it will take some time for all to receive those vaccines and that has necessitated an allocation strategy to ensure that those most at risk of death and serious illness receive the vaccine first.

The priority is to first vaccinate and protect directly the most vulnerable amongst us, that is, those most likely to have a poor outcome if they contract the virus. The priority is to directly use vaccines to save lives and reduce serious illness, hence the focus on the over 65 year old cohort in long term residential care facilities, and healthcare workers in frontline services often caring for the most vulnerable.

All of the groups will be covered as further vaccine supplies become available and the immunisation programme is rolled out nationally.

The evidence will be kept under review and the allocation groups may be updated, where necessary, in light of new evidence.

Frontline healthcare workers (HCWs) in direct patient contact roles will be vaccinated in Group 2. This includes HCWs working in public, private, and voluntary settings. Other HCWs, not in direct patient contact, will be vaccinated in Group 4.

Covid-19 Pandemic

Questions (594)

Neale Richmond

Question:

594. Deputy Neale Richmond asked the Minister for Health the extent to which birthing partners are currently permitted to attend the post-birth of a child and related maternity appointments as a visitor in hospitals; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [2652/21]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Health)

As this is a service matter, I have asked the Health Service Executive to respond to the Deputy directly, as soon as possible.

Health Services Staff

Questions (595)

Niamh Smyth

Question:

595. Deputy Niamh Smyth asked the Minister for Health if the HSE will address the concerns in relation to the shortage of professionals in an area (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [2654/21]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Health)

As this is a service matter I have asked the Health Service Executive to respond directly to the Deputy as soon as possible.

Vaccination Programme

Questions (596)

Cormac Devlin

Question:

596. Deputy Cormac Devlin asked the Minister for Health if he will consider including a daily update on the progress of Covid-19 vaccine inoculations via the Covid tracker app; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [2657/21]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Health)

I can assure the Deputy that work is ongoing to ensure that members of the public have easy access to vaccination details, including the numbers who have been vaccinated. The HSE have advised my Department that plans are in place to include vaccine numbers administered in the next update of the Covid Tracker App, currently scheduled for the end of January 2021.

Vaccination Programme

Question Nos. 598 and 599 answered with Question No. 448.

Questions (597)

Cormac Devlin

Question:

597. Deputy Cormac Devlin asked the Minister for Health if he will consider providing a single point of contact online for updates and data on the progress of Covid-19 vaccine inoculations, the current vaccine allocation sequencing schedule and the ready estimator of when persons can generally expect to receive their inoculations based on supply estimates and the current vaccine allocation sequence; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [2658/21]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Health)

The Government is committed to the timely implementation of a COVID-19 immunisation programme.

The National COVID-19 Vaccination Strategy, which was prepared by the High-Level Task Force on COVID-19 Vaccination, was signed off by Cabinet on 15 December 2020.

The vaccines will be rolled out in three phases - the initial roll out, a mass ramp-up and open access. The highest priority groups, those over the age of 65 living in long-term care facilities and frontline healthcare workers in direct patient contact, will receive the vaccine first.

The aim of the COVID-19 vaccination programme is to ensure, over time, that vaccine will become available to vaccinate all of those for whom the vaccine is indicated. Given that there will be initially limited vaccines available, it will take some time for all to receive those vaccines and that has necessitated an allocation strategy to ensure that those most at risk of death and serious illness receive the vaccine first.

The priority is to first vaccinate and protect directly the most vulnerable amongst us, that is, those most likely to have a poor outcome if they contract the virus. The priority is to directly use vaccines to save lives and reduce serious illness, hence the focus on the over 65 year old cohort in long term residential care facilities, and healthcare workers in frontline services often caring for the most vulnerable.

All of the groups will be covered as further vaccine supplies become available and the immunisation programme is rolled out nationally. This is wholly dependent on supply lines and on candidate vaccines obtaining approval. Therefore, it is not possible at this time to determine a timeframe for the full vaccination programme.

The evidence will be kept under review and the allocation groups may be updated, where necessary, in light of new evidence.

Further information on the Allocation Strategy can be found at:

https://www.gov.ie/en/publication/39038-provisional-vaccine-allocation-groups/ .

Vaccine administration figures are now being added to Ireland's COVID-19 Data Hub.

https://covid19ireland-geohive.hub.arcgis.com/

The HSE will move to daily reporting from January 25. Daily figures will be available on the Covid App from February 1.

Question Nos. 598 and 599 answered with Question No. 448.

Covid-19 Pandemic

Question No. 601 answered with Question No. 488.

Questions (600)

Holly Cairns

Question:

600. Deputy Holly Cairns asked the Minister for Health if the 5 km travel restrictions apply to non-essential travel on water, for example, sailing or rowing; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [2672/21]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Health)

As the Deputy is aware, Ireland is currently at Level 5 of Resilience and Recovery 2020-2021: Plan for Living with COVID-19.

At Level 5, people are asked to stay at home as much as possible unless they have a "reasonable excuse" for leaving, which includes to take exercise within 5km of home. Further information on domestic travel restrictions at level 5 is available here:- https://www.gov.ie/en/publication/2dc71-level-5/#domestic-travel-restrictions

The regulations providing for these measures are set out in S.I. No. 701 of 2020. Regulation 4. of SI 701 sets out a non-exhaustive list of reasonable excuses for leaving one’s home. Statutory Instruments related to the Covid-19 pandemic are available here:- https://www.gov.ie/en/collection/1f150-view-statutory-instruments-related-to-the-covid-19-pandemic/

Question No. 601 answered with Question No. 488.

Sexually Transmitted Infections

Questions (602)

Holly Cairns

Question:

602. Deputy Holly Cairns asked the Minister for Health his views on making permanent the pilot service offering free at home test kits for STI screening to Dublin, Cork and Kerry; if the service will be extended to the entire country; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [2674/21]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Health)

As this is a service matter, I have asked the Health Service Executive to respond to the Deputy directly, as soon as possible.

Covid-19 Tests

Questions (603)

Holly Cairns

Question:

603. Deputy Holly Cairns asked the Minister for Health if adequate signage and directions are being provided for the Covid-19 swab centre at a location (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [2675/21]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Health)

As this is a service matter, I have asked the Health Service Executive to respond to the Deputy directly, as soon as possible.

Covid-19 Pandemic

Questions (604)

Holly Cairns

Question:

604. Deputy Holly Cairns asked the Minister for Health the system in place for members of the public to report breaches of Covid guidelines by Covid-19 positive patients who have been notified of their positive test results but who continue to work, shop and so on or persons who have returned from abroad and are not adhering to quarantine rules; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [2676/21]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Health)

As you will be aware, Ireland is currently at Level 5 of Resilience and Recovery 2020-2021: Plan for Living with COVID-19.

The Health Service Executive (HSE) provides information on the steps to be taken when a person receives a positive Covid19 test result at the following link:- https://www2.hse.ie/conditions/coronavirus/test-results/if-you-test-positive-for-covid-19.html

If a person has concerns about the implementation of public health advice in the workplace, they can contact the Health and Safety Authority at wcu@hsa.ie or by phone at 1890 289 389. The Public Health Department of the HSE can be contacted in relation to a person not isolating following a positive test result oat the HSELive Coronavirus Helpline 1850 24 1850.

From the outset of the pandemic, Ireland’s approach to international travel has been centred on advisory public health measures with the exception of the COVID-19 Passenger Locator Form, which has been a mandatory requirement for arriving passengers to complete since May. The Government is giving continuing consideration to policy on international travel informed by public health advice and the work of the Senior Officials Group on travel.

Information on all the public health measures in place at level 5 is available here:- https://www.gov.ie/en/publication/2dc71-level-5/#domestic-travel-restrictions

Hospital Facilities

Questions (605)

Barry Cowen

Question:

605. Deputy Barry Cowen asked the Minister for Health the status of the scheduled works to the early pregnancy unit, EPU, and isolation unit at Mullingar general hospital. [2684/21]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Health)

As the Health Service Executive is responsible for the delivery of public healthcare infrastructure projects, I have asked the HSE to respond to you directly in relation to this matter.