Wednesday, 24 February 2021

Questions (824, 825, 861, 890, 891, 916, 918, 924, 983)

Michael Moynihan

Question:

824. Deputy Michael Moynihan asked the Minister for Health if there are plans in place to review the position of persons with cerebral palsy on the prioritisation list for Covid-19 vaccinations, with a view to ensuring they receive vaccinations earlier; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9645/21]

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Michael Moynihan

Question:

825. Deputy Michael Moynihan asked the Minister for Health if there are plans in place to review the position of persons with muscular dystrophy on the prioritisation list for Covid-19 vaccinations, with a view to ensuring they receive vaccinations earlier; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9646/21]

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Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire

Question:

861. Deputy Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire asked the Minister for Health the position of persons with Addison’s disease on the Covid-19 vaccination schedule; and when persons with the condition can expect to receive the vaccine. [9820/21]

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Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire

Question:

890. Deputy Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire 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 association (details supplied) or with the HSE national renal office on the matter; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9882/21]

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Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire

Question:

891. Deputy Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire asked the Minister for Health if those at high risk due to liver transplants will be prioritised for receipt of the Covid-19 vaccine; and when they can expect to receive the vaccine. [9883/21]

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Holly Cairns

Question:

916. Deputy Holly Cairns asked the Minister for Health if persons with chronic kidney disease will be given the same priority allocation as nursing home residents in the Covid-19 provisional vaccination priority list, given that they are in a vulnerable high-risk group; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9961/21]

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Neasa Hourigan

Question:

918. Deputy Neasa Hourigan asked the Minister for Health if he will consider prioritising persons with cystic fibrosis on the vaccine priority list. [9981/21]

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Alan Kelly

Question:

924. Deputy Alan Kelly asked the Minister for Health when kidney patients are due to be vaccinated against Covid-19; if he will consider examining their place on the prioritisation list; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [10011/21]

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Fergus O'Dowd

Question:

983. Deputy Fergus O'Dowd asked the Minister for Health if matters raised in correspondence by a person (details supplied) in respect of kidney patients and their position in the Covid-19 vaccine roll-out will receive a response; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [10178/21]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 824, 825, 861, 890, 891, 916, 918, 924 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 began in February.

On the 23rd of February, I announced an update to Ireland’s COVID-19 Vaccine Allocation Strategy.

In comprising the initial Vaccine Allocation Strategy, the NIAC listed several conditions associated with increased risk of severe disease and death. In the intervening period, national and international evidence has become available which has enabled a more detailed analysis of underlying conditions that may increase the risk of developing severe disease or death.

The NIAC has now been able to more comprehensively identify those medical conditions and to distinguish between those which place a person at very high or high risk of severe disease if they contract the virus. Medical conditions and the magnitude of the risk they pose will continue to be monitored and periodically reviewed.

The NIAC continues to monitor data around this disease and indeed emerging data on effectiveness of vaccines on a rolling basis.

Further details are available at the following link:

https://www.gov.ie/en/press-release/b44b2-minister-donnelly-announces-update-to-vaccine-allocation-strategy/