Covid-19 Pandemic

Questions (782)

Carol Nolan

Question:

782. Deputy Carol Nolan asked the Minister for Health the reason persons providing homecare services to the elderly, vulnerable and those with underlying conditions are not being prioritised for vaccination; if he will seek to amend this situation; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [8372/21]

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.

The next group (Group 3) to be vaccinated are those aged 70 and older in the following order: 85 and older, 80-84, 75-79, and 70-74. Vaccination of this group will begin this month.

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.

The HSE has published a document on the sequencing of COVID-19 vaccination of frontline healthcare workers, which provides more detail. It is available at the following link:

https://www.hse.ie/eng/services/news/newsfeatures/covid19-updates/covid-19-vaccine-materials/sequencing-of-covid-19-vaccination-of-frontline-healthcare-workers.pdf

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.

Covid-19 Pandemic

Question No. 784 answered with Question No. 737.

Questions (783)

Cormac Devlin

Question:

783. Deputy Cormac Devlin asked the Minister for Health the status of public usage of the Covid-19 tracker application by month in tabular form; if there are plans to include vaccination information; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [8380/21]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Health)

Thank you for your question on the COVID Tracker App which is a valuable digital tool that can be utilised by the public to help suppress COVID-19.

Since the Health Service Executive has operational responsibility for the App, I have asked them to respond directly regarding the operational use data.

Regarding the inclusion of vaccination data, I'm pleased to advise that both first and second dose vaccination data is now available on the COVID Tracker App. As of 12th February 175,238 first-dose vaccines have been administered and 89,999 second-dose vaccinations administered.

Also, the Health Service Executive has just made data available on the App by vaccine type. I am able to advise that data is now reported in the COVID Tracker App by vaccination type with the Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna and AstraZeneca vaccine dosages reported.

The implementation of this information onto the COVID Tracker App for general use was a result of co-operation and dedication by a range of staff across the Department of Health and the Health Service Executive, executed at pace and under the difficult working environment that we all find ourselves in due to COVID-19.

Question No. 784 answered with Question No. 737.

National Children's Hospital

Questions (785)

Cormac Devlin

Question:

785. Deputy Cormac Devlin asked the Minister for Health the number of subsequent meetings that took place following the April 2019 new children's hospital independent review of escalation of costs report and its 11 recommendations between his Department, the Departments of the Taoiseach and Public Expenditure and Reform, the HSE, Children's Health Ireland and the National Paediatric Hospital Development Board including meeting dates in 2019 and 2020 and other participating Departments; the structures that were put in place to progress and implement these recommendations; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [8382/21]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

Following publication of the PwC independent review of the escalation of costs of the new children’s hospital project, my Department worked closely with the Departments of An Taoiseach and of Public Expenditure and Reform, and with the HSE, Children’s Health Ireland (CHI) and the National Paediatric Hospital Development Board (NPHDB) to develop an implementation plan for the 11 recommendations set out in the PwC report. In that regard, a workshop of all key stakeholders was held on 30 April 2019 to finalise the plan. Notwithstanding COVID-19 related challenges, that implementation is well underway and good progress has been made to date, noting that the majority of remaining actions will remain ongoing over the life of the project or are applicable to future stages of the project. In relation to the management and oversight arrangements of the project, revised governance structures have now been developed and will be implemented subject to Government approval. In the interim, existing governance arrangements remain in place with full focus on the work to implement the PwC recommendations and to oversee all aspects of this complex project. Under these arrangements, Children’s Hospital Project & Programme Steering Group meetings are held monthly and Children’s Hospital Project & Programme Board meetings quarterly.

Covid-19 Pandemic

Questions (786)

Cormac Devlin

Question:

786. Deputy Cormac Devlin asked the Minister for Health the strategy in place regarding testing of all residents and staff of nursing homes along with patients returning from hospital visits; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [8383/21]

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 (787)

Cormac Devlin

Question:

787. Deputy Cormac Devlin asked the Minister for Health the protocol for patients in which their general practitioner opts out of the Covid-19 vaccinating programme and is not providing details to the HSE; the way in which these patients will be informed of their vaccination date and location; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [8384/21]

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.

Obesity Strategy

Questions (788, 789)

Carol Nolan

Question:

788. Deputy Carol Nolan asked the Minister for Health the plans in place under the obesity policy implementation oversight group to progress action 1.8 of the obesity policy and action plan; if a timeline will be developed for progressing same; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [8393/21]

View answer

Carol Nolan

Question:

789. Deputy Carol Nolan asked the Minister for Health the evidence aside from that on the impact of the sugar sweetened tax that has been or will be reviewed on the effectiveness on the implementation for fiscal measures on HFSS products to reduce their consumption; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [8394/21]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Health)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 788 and 789 together.

The Sugar-Sweetened Drinks Tax was introduced on 1 May 2018. This followed a comprehensive preparation process including the publication of an internal working paper to inform consideration of a sugar sweetened drinks levy from a health perspective, and an extensive consultation process.

Any further introduction of fiscal measures in relation to foods high in fat, sugar and salt, or indeed to encourage healthy eating and lifestyles more broadly, will likewise require a strong evidence base and preparation process. The evaluation currently underway of the Sugar-Sweetened Drinks Tax will also inform this process, in terms of what may be learned about the efficacy of the tax and the applicability of similar measures to other food products.

The Obesity Policy and Action Plan is due to be reviewed in 2021, to refresh the Plan for the remaining years of its lifetime, and the issue of the introduction of additional evidence-based fiscal measures of this nature will be further considered as part of this process.

Obesity Strategy

Questions (790)

Carol Nolan

Question:

790. Deputy Carol Nolan asked the Minister for Health the status of the next steps being taken by the physical activity group and obesity policy implementation oversight group following the November 2018 stakeholder forum on the built environment undertaken as part of action 2.1 of the obesity plan; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [8395/21]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Health)

Connect, Collaborate, Create; Co-Designing Healthier Communities, A Healthy Ireland Stakeholder Forum on the Built Environment, was held on November 21st 2018, in the National Indoor Arena. The Forum was managed by the Departments of Health, Transport Tourism and Sport (DTTAS, now DTCAGSM) and Housing Planning and Local Government (now DHLGH) and Sport Ireland.

Both the National Physical Activity Plan Implementation Group (NPAP IG) and the Obesity Policy Implementation Oversight Group (OPIOG) were represented at the Forum, which brought together those with responsibility for planning and developing public spaces with those who have expertise regarding the impacts of the built and natural environments on health and well-being, sport and physical activity, obesity and mental health, with the objective of examining how our physical environment can impact on health and well-being.

Progress has been made in a variety of different areas since the Forum was held, as detailed below, and it is envisaged that this progress will continue.

- A number of meetings, involving representatives of DHealth, DTTAS and DHPLG were held, following the Forum in 2018, to discuss the outcomes and the best ways of progressing these.

- The Design Manual for Urban Roads and Streets, originally published in 2013, was updated in 2019, accompanied by additional advice and a new website, www.dmurs.ie

- Implementation of the objectives of the NPF is supported by a €2 billion Urban Regeneration and Development fund (URDF) in the period to 2027. There were 87 successful applications supported in Round 1 of the Fund.

- The Strategy for the Future Development of National and Regional Greenways was launched in 2018, with work advancing on a number of greenway projects since then

- An inter-Departmental Advisory Group, Town Centre First, was established by DHLGH in late 2020; the NPAP Implementation Group is represented by the Department of Health co-Chair.

- The Department of Rural and Community Development approved funding of €10.2 million for 153 projects under the 2019 Outdoor Recreation Infrastructure Scheme towards the development of trails, walkways, cycleways, greenways, blueways and mountain access routes.

- Sport Ireland supported the development of Blueways (recreation on or near water) in RoI and NI, through the Blueway Partnership in 2019

- Sport Ireland carried out 247 walking and cycling trail assessments and inspections in 2019, and also delivered 7 training courses aimed at supporting the development of walking and cycling infrastructure countrywide;

- Sport Ireland published a number of guidelines in 2019, including the Great Outdoors – An Accessibility Guideline for Outdoor Areas in collaboration with the Irish Wheelchair Association and CARA, and the revised and updated Criteria for Walking Trail Development in Ireland in 2019.

Further progress in this area will be pursued in line with the commitments in the Programme for Government, and through the reviews of the National Physical Activity Plan and the Obesity Policy and Action Plan, both of which are scheduled for 2021.

Health Promotion

Questions (791)

Carol Nolan

Question:

791. Deputy Carol Nolan asked the Minister for Health the status of the scoping work that was underway with the Institute of Public Health and the WHO to develop and implement a nutrition policy and action plan; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [8396/21]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Health)

The Department has been working with the Institute of Public Health and the World Health Organisation on scoping out nutrition policy actions that would provide better nutrition for Ireland. A number of nutrition policy actions are included in the Obesity Policy and Action Plan 2016-2025 and many of these are based on the WHO European Food and Nutrition Plan 2013-2020. The Obesity Policy and Action Plan progress report published last week (https://www.gov.ie/en/press-release/25dc9-obesity-policy-and-action-plan-progress-report-published/) provides details of nutrition policy actions already undertaken, for example the Healthy Food for Life resources and the Nutrition Standards for School Meals.

In order to identify gaps where further nutrition actions are needed, my Department has been having discussions with the Institute of Public Health and the WHO. The WHO have compiled a list of policy options for better nutrition in Ireland under a number of thematic areas, such as healthy food and drink environments, healthy diet throughout the life-course and health systems for the promotion of healthy diets.

These policy options will be discussed at the next Obesity Policy Implementation Oversight Group (OPIOG) meeting and priorities agreed and these will be taken forward by the OPIOG’s Healthy Eating Sub Group in association with key partners.

Covid-19 Pandemic

Questions (792)

Thomas Pringle

Question:

792. Deputy Thomas Pringle asked the Minister for Health if those providing HSE home support services are being vaccinated for Covid-19 as part of group 2; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [8397/21]

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.

The next group to be vaccinated are those aged 70 and older in the following order: 85 and older, 80-84, 75-79, and 70-74. Vaccination of this group will begin in this month.

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.

The HSE has published a document on the sequencing of COVID-19 vaccination of frontline healthcare workers, which provides more detail. It is available at the following link:

https://www.hse.ie/eng/services/news/newsfeatures/covid19-updates/covid-19-vaccine-materials/sequencing-of-covid-19-vaccination-of-frontline-healthcare-workers.pdf

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.

Covid-19 Pandemic

Questions (793)

Thomas Pringle

Question:

793. Deputy Thomas Pringle asked the Minister for Health when HSE home support services workers in the St. Johnston area of County Donegal will be vaccinated for Covid-19; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [8399/21]

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 (794)

Seán Sherlock

Question:

794. Deputy Sean Sherlock asked the Minister for Health if gastrology posts will be created outside of Dublin. [8400/21]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Health)

In relation to the particular query raised, as this is a service matter, I have asked the Health Service Executive to respond to the Deputy directly, as soon as possible.

Hospital Services

Questions (795)

Seán Sherlock

Question:

795. Deputy Sean Sherlock asked the Minister for Health the status of the treatment available for a person (details supplied) in County Cork. [8401/21]

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.

Medicinal Products

Questions (796)

David Cullinane

Question:

796. Deputy David Cullinane asked the Minister for Health the drugs which were considered at the January HSE drugs group meeting; the stage at which each are at in their application; the actions emerging from the meeting in tabular form; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [8410/21]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Health)

The HSE has statutory responsibility for decisions on pricing and reimbursement of medicines under the community drug schemes, in accordance with the provisions of the Health (Pricing and Supply of Medical Goods) Act 2013; therefore, the matter has been referred to the HSE for reply to the Deputy.

Drugs Payment Scheme

Questions (797)

Marian Harkin

Question:

797. Deputy Marian Harkin asked the Minister for Health the reason the Ozempic insulin pen is not covered under the drugs repayment scheme; if he will consider including this medication on the long-term illness scheme; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [8414/21]

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.

Drugs Payment Scheme

Questions (798)

Marian Harkin

Question:

798. Deputy Marian Harkin asked the Minister for Health if a device (details supplied) will be included for reimbursement under the drugs repayment scheme; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [8415/21]

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.

Hospital Staff

Questions (799)

Catherine Connolly

Question:

799. Deputy Catherine Connolly asked the Minister for Health his plans for co-operation with other EU member states which have a surplus of radiologists and in which scans can be reported upon efficiently and quickly given the shortage of consultant radiologists in Ireland and the delays caused in diagnosis as a result of the time taken to read scans; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [8417/21]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Health)

In relation to the particular query raised, as this is a service matter, I have asked the Health Service Executive to respond to the Deputy directly, as soon as possible.

Vacant Sites

Questions (800)

Cormac Devlin

Question:

800. Deputy Cormac Devlin asked the Minister for Health if his attention has been drawn to the case of a property (details supplied); if the issue will be investigated and the appropriate action taken; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [8424/21]

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.

Occupational Therapy

Questions (801)

Niamh Smyth

Question:

801. Deputy Niamh Smyth asked the Minister for Health the reason a person (details supplied) is waiting so long for occupational therapy and physiotherapy following their assessment of needs; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [8432/21]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Health)

The Programme for Government, Our Shared Future, recognises the need to improve services for both children and adults with disabilities through better implementation and by working together across Government in a better way.

The Government commits to prioritising early diagnosis and access to services for children and ensuring that the most effective interventions are provided for each child, to guarantee the best outcomes.

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

Psychological Assessments

Questions (802)

Niamh Smyth

Question:

802. Deputy Niamh Smyth asked the Minister for Health the timeframe a person (details supplied) may wait for an assessment of needs; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [8436/21]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Health)

The Programme for Government, Our Shared Future, recognises the need to improve services for both children and adults with disabilities through better implementation and by working together across Government in a better way.

The Government commits to prioritising early diagnosis and access to services for children and ensuring that the most effective interventions are provided for each child, to guarantee the best outcomes.

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

Hospital Appointments Status

Questions (803)

Barry Cowen

Question:

803. Deputy Barry Cowen asked the Minister for Health the status of the case of a person (details supplied); when they can expect an appointment with a surgeon; and if they will be considered for surgery under the winter initiative scheme. [8447/21]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Health)

It is recognised that waiting times for scheduled appointments and procedures have been impacted in the last year as a direct result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The HSE is currently recommending that only critical time dependent elective procedures are undertaken at this time due to the on-going and significant increased demand for bed capacity related to Covid-19.

This decision was made arising from the rapid increase in Covid-19 admissions and to ensure patient safety and that all appropriate resources were made available for Covid-19 related activity and time-critical essential work.

Patient safety remains at the centre of all hospital activity and elective care scheduling. To ensure services are provided in a safe, clinically-aligned and prioritised way, hospitals are following HSE clinical guidelines and protocols.

Under the Health Act 2004, the Health Service Executive (HSE) is required to manage and deliver, or arrange to be delivered on its behalf, health and personal social services. Section 6 of the HSE Governance Act 2013 bars the Minister for Health from directing the HSE to provide a treatment or a personal service to any individual or to confer eligibility on any individual.

The National Waiting List Management Policy is a standardised approach used by the HSE to manage scheduled care treatment for in-patient, day case and planned procedures. It sets out the processes that hospitals are to implement to manage waiting lists and was developed in 2014 to ensure that all administrative, managerial and clinical staff follow an agreed national minimum standard for the management and administration of waiting lists for scheduled care.

In relation to the particular query raised, as this is a service matter, I have asked the Health Service Executive to respond to the Deputy directly, as soon as possible.

Vaccination Programme

Questions (804, 840, 861, 862, 865, 866, 875, 876, 899, 905, 906, 910, 911, 912, 923, 924, 938, 948, 949, 958, 965, 966, 983)

Colm Burke

Question:

804. Deputy Colm Burke asked the Minister for Health if he will address a matter regarding the vaccination of renal patients (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [8455/21]

View answer

Niall Collins

Question:

840. Deputy Niall Collins asked the Minister for Health if he will address a matter (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [8543/21]

View answer

Bríd Smith

Question:

861. Deputy Bríd Smith asked the Minister for Health if his attention has been drawn to the fact that published data indicates a Covid-19 mortality rate amongst kidney patients similar to that of residents of long-term facilities; if his attention has been further drawn to the fact that expert medical opinion both here and internationally makes a strong case on medical and ethical grounds for the need for all kidney patients to be vaccinated earlier than currently planned; if this extremely at risk group will be moved to the top of the vaccination schedule as a matter of priority; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [8586/21]

View answer

Niamh Smyth

Question:

862. Deputy Niamh Smyth asked the Minister for Health if he will address a matter raised in correspondence (details supplied) regarding the vaccination of kidney patients; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [8587/21]

View answer

Barry Cowen

Question:

865. Deputy Barry Cowen asked the Minister for Health if his attention has been drawn to the published data indicating a Covid-19 case mortality rate amongst kidney patients similar to that of residents of long-term care facilities; if he will take into account the particular vulnerability of kidney patients such as persons on dialysis and kidney transplant recipients and move them into cohort 1 for Covid-19 vaccination; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [8592/21]

View answer

Niamh Smyth

Question:

866. Deputy Niamh Smyth asked the Minister for Health if his attention has been drawn to the HSE’s national renal office statement that in-centre haemodialysis patients should be considered similar to persons aged 65 and older who are residents of long-term care facilities in terms of prioritisation for the first wave of Covid-19 vaccination and that such patients are extremely medically vulnerable and have a very high mortality risk; and if he will place these patients in cohort 1 for vaccination against Covid-19. [8593/21]

View answer

Seán Canney

Question:

875. Deputy Seán Canney asked the Minister for Health if he will review the vaccine plan and have kidney patients in group one of the programme due to their particular vulnerability; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [8648/21]

View answer

David Cullinane

Question:

876. Deputy David Cullinane asked the Minister for Health if his attention has been drawn to the disproportionate mortality rates from Covid-19 among kidney patients which is similar to that of residents of long-term care facilities; if the vaccination allocation sequencing has been reviewed with this in mind; if he has engaged with advocates of kidney patients such as an organisation (details supplied) or with the HSE national renal office on the matter; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [8650/21]

View answer

Emer Higgins

Question:

899. Deputy Emer Higgins asked the Minister for Health if he will discuss with the national immunisation advisory committee when kidney patients should receive the Covid-19 vaccination and to determine if they and other vulnerable groups should be included in category 3. [8715/21]

View answer

Thomas Pringle

Question:

905. Deputy Thomas Pringle asked the Minister for Health if he will consider reviewing and categorising kidney transplant recipients and those on kidney transplant waiting lists as a distinct cohort to be considered for a higher priority grouping under the national Covid-19 vaccination programme; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [8736/21]

View answer

Malcolm Noonan

Question:

906. Deputy Malcolm Noonan asked the Minister for Health if his attention has been drawn to the situation regarding kidney patients and the Covid-19 vaccine roll-out programme (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [8741/21]

View answer

Jackie Cahill

Question:

910. Deputy Jackie Cahill asked the Minister for Health if his attention has been drawn to the HSE’s national renal office statement that in-centre haemodialysis patients should be considered similar to persons aged 65 and older who are residents of long-term care facilities in terms of prioritisation for the first wave of Covid-19 vaccination and those patients are extremely medically vulnerable and have a very high mortality risk; if he will consider placing these patients in cohort 1 for vaccination against Covid-19; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [8752/21]

View answer

Jackie Cahill

Question:

911. Deputy Jackie Cahill asked the Minister for Health if his attention has been drawn to published data indicating a Covid-19 case mortality rate amongst kidney patients similar to that of residents of long-term care facilities; if he will move them into cohort 1 for Covid-19 vaccination in view of the particular vulnerability of kidney patients such as persons on dialysis and kidney transplant recipients; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [8753/21]

View answer

Cathal Crowe

Question:

912. Deputy Cathal Crowe asked the Minister for Health if his attention has been drawn to the fact that published data indicates a Covid-19 case mortality rate amongst kidney patients similar to that of residents of long-term care facilities; if kidney patients will be moved into cohort 1 for Covid-19 vaccination given their particular vulnerability, that is, persons on dialysis and kidney transplant recipients; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [8756/21]

View answer

Pádraig O'Sullivan

Question:

923. Deputy Pádraig O'Sullivan asked the Minister for Health if his attention has been drawn to the HSE’s national renal office statement that in-centre haemodialysis patients should be considered similar to persons aged 65 and older who are residents of long-term care facilities in terms of prioritisation for the first wave of Covid-19 vaccination given that such patients are extremely medically vulnerable and have a very high mortality risk; if he will place these patients in cohort 1 for vaccination against Covid-19; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [8794/21]

View answer

Pádraig O'Sullivan

Question:

924. Deputy Pádraig O'Sullivan asked the Minister for Health if his attention has been drawn to published data indicating a Covid-19 case mortality rate amongst kidney patients similar to that of residents of long-term care facilities; if on account of the particular vulnerability of kidney patients such as persons on dialysis and kidney transplant recipients will be moved into cohort 1 for Covid-19 vaccination; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [8795/21]

View answer

Colm Burke

Question:

938. Deputy Colm Burke asked the Minister for Health if he will consider reviewing the current categorisation of persons who are under 70 years of age but who are receiving treatment for cancer or dialysis and are required to attend hospital on a weekly basis in order that they would be moved forward on the priority list on the Covid-19 vaccination programme (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [8812/21]

View answer

Dara Calleary

Question:

948. Deputy Dara Calleary asked the Minister for Health if his attention has been drawn to the HSE national renal office statement that in-centre haemodialysis patients should be considered similar to persons aged 65 and older who are residents of long-term care facilities in terms of prioritisation for the first wave of the Covid-19 vaccination given patients are extremely medically vulnerable and have a very high mortality risk; if this information has been made available to NIAC; if these patients will be placed in cohort 1 for vaccination against Covid-19; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [8868/21]

View answer

Dara Calleary

Question:

949. Deputy Dara Calleary asked the Minister for Health if he has consulted with NIAC on published data indicating a Covid-19 case mortality rate amongst kidney patients similar to that of residents of long-term care facilities; his views on whether NIAC should move such persons into cohort 1 for Covid-19 vaccination given the particular vulnerability of kidney patients, that is, persons on dialysis and kidney transplant recipients; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [8869/21]

View answer

Éamon Ó Cuív

Question:

958. Deputy Éamon Ó Cuív asked the Minister for Health when it is planned to vaccinate kidney patients between 18 and 64 years of age; if it is planned to give this group a high priority in view of the high risk of Covid-19 to kidney patients of all ages; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [8925/21]

View answer

Michael Moynihan

Question:

965. Deputy Michael Moynihan asked the Minister for Health if his attention has been drawn to the HSE national renal office statement that in-centre haemodialysis patients should be considered similar to persons aged 65 and older who are residents of long-term care facilities in terms of prioritisation for the first wave of Covid-19 vaccination; if he will place these patients in cohort 1 for vaccination against Covid-19 given such patients are extremely medically vulnerable and have a very high mortality risk; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [8936/21]

View answer

Michael Moynihan

Question:

966. Deputy Michael Moynihan asked the Minister for Health if his attention has been drawn to published data indicating a Covid-19 case mortality rate amongst kidney patients similar to that of residents of long-term care facilities; if he will move them into cohort 1 for Covid-19 vaccination given the particular vulnerability of kidney patients, that is, persons on dialysis and kidney transplant recipients; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [8937/21]

View answer

Catherine Connolly

Question:

983. Deputy Catherine Connolly asked the Minister for Health his plans to prioritise kidney patients of all ages in the Covid-19 vaccine roll-out plan given the higher death rates among Covid-19 patients with kidney disease than Covid-19 patients in the general population and the fact that over 2,000 in-centre haemodialysis patients must attend hospital care facilities for treatment three times a week which places them at risk of Covid-19 transmission and also renders them unable to self-isolate; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [8977/21]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 804, 840, 861, 862, 865, 866, 875, 876, 899, 905, 906, 910 to 912, inclusive, 923, 924, 938, 948, 949, 958, 965, 966 and 983 together.

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.

The next group to be vaccinated are those aged 70 and older in the following order: 85 and older, 80-84, 75-79, and 70-74. Vaccination of this group will start in the week beginning the 15th of February.

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.

General Practitioner Services

Questions (805)

Colm Burke

Question:

805. Deputy Colm Burke asked the Minister for Health if PCRS fees apply to general practitioners who partake in a pilot project (details supplied) to test and treat hepatitis C patients; if not, the alternative fees that apply to general practitioners; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [8456/21]

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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.

General Practitioner Services

Questions (806)

Colm Burke

Question:

806. Deputy Colm Burke asked the Minister for Health if PCRS fees apply to the pharmacy that supplies hepatitis C medication to patients (details supplied); if not, the alternative fees that apply to the pharmacy; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [8457/21]

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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.