16 Dec 2020, 17.18

The Joint Committee on Health met with members of the High-Level Task Force on Covid-19 Vaccination today to discuss the likely shape of the Covid vaccine programme to be rolled out across the State from January.

The Committee explored issues around the prioritisation of certain categories for the vaccine, particularly older people and those with underlying health conditions. The meeting also addressed the need for clear and concise messaging to ally the legitimate fears many people will hold about taking the vaccine.

Speaking after the meeting, Chair of the Committee, Seán Crowe TD praised all those who have led in the State’s response to Covid-19 from frontline staff across all sectors to the public health officials whose job now is to manage the roll-out of the vaccine in an effective and efficient manner.

Deputy Crowe said: “The Committee is fully behind the vaccine programme and will engage positively with the Minister and his officials and with the HSE to ensure that the programme meets its targets and that an appropriate prioritisation mechanism is in place at the early stages when demand for the vaccine will outstrip supply. As more vaccines are approved and sufficient supplies become available the job of our public health authorities will be to roll it out effectively to everyone in the community. That will be a massive undertaking”.

The Committee also wants to ensure that those who have legitimate fears about taking a vaccine will have their concerns addressed by way of a national campaign and also by asking those people to get their information from their GP or Pharmacist.

“We are at the first stage in the roll out and, as was clear today, much of the detail in  the plans have to be finalised and we look forward to further engagement with those who are taking leadership roles in the campaign that lies ahead to put an end to the pandemic.”

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