Wednesday, 13 January 2021

Ceisteanna (792, 1007, 1011, 1033)

Pádraig O'Sullivan

Ceist:

792. Deputy Pádraig O'Sullivan asked the Minister for Health the progress to date of the distribution of the Covid-19 vaccine; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [44800/20]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Patrick Costello

Ceist:

1007. Deputy Patrick Costello asked the Minister for Health the projected timeline of the Covid-19 vaccination plan. [1347/21]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Robert Troy

Ceist:

1011. Deputy Robert Troy asked the Minister for Health if further details will be provided regarding the Covid-19 vaccination roll-out; and if a company that is due to have employees vaccinated in phase 13 can pre-register with the HSE. [1367/21]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Marian Harkin

Ceist:

1033. Deputy Marian Harkin asked the Minister for Health the stage of the vaccination process; if the staff and residents of boarding out facilities for the elderly will receive the Covid-19 vaccine; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [1520/21]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Health)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 792, 1007, 1011 and 1033 together.

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/.