Thursday, 1 April 2021
Vaccination Programme and Covid-19: Statements
I support the prioritisation of older people and those at higher risk. The CSO data have been showing for weeks that the risk to people with underlying health conditions is 44 times higher than it is for those in younger categories. For those in their 60s, the risk is 18 times higher. Therefore, the prioritisation is absolutely justified, but the arrangement should not have been sprung upon the people in the way it was. The evidence has been available for a long time and the way it was dealt with is unacceptable.
I would like to see more information. I ask the Minister to provide more on the additional risk associated with variant B117. Earlier, we heard on the radio from an individual in the UK that the hospitalisation rate is 50% higher and that the ICU admission rate is 100% higher but I have not seen these data come from Irish sources. If they did, they would help to explain some of the decisions being made. Can the Minister provide accurate numbers in respect of each of the categories now provided for? People crave a date but if they could see the accurate numbers, including the numbers for each week, they would get some idea of the progress. I refer, in particular, to the numbers in the very high-risk category and the next category of risk. Can the Minister illustrate how, in respect of those over 65 and those with underlying health conditions who have been vaccinated, our elimination of 92% of fatalities and 100% of the ICU risk has been factored into the decisions? I do not see any explanation of how the lower-risk profile is changing the way we will make decisions.