Dáil debates

Wednesday, 24 November 2021

Covid-19: New Measures: Statements

 

7:27 pm

Photo of Marc MacSharryMarc MacSharry (Sligo-Leitrim, Fianna Fail)

I encourage anybody listening who is not vaccinated to get the vaccine and to get their booster as soon as it is available to them. That said, and everybody knows me here so it is not personal, there are a couple of things to say. Either Israel is reckless or NIAC is too slow. We are going the scenic route to things. I was vaccinated in May as I had an underlying condition. We knew when I was getting the vaccine that it waned after five or six months. On the basis that we vaccinated the first healthcare professionals in June, we should have been hitting the ground running in July or August and, instead, we started in October. Israel had its fourth wave in June and it peaked in August, and then it hit the ground running with the booster and saw an 80% reduction in its cases by mid-September. Whatever it is, whether members of NIAC need to sleep on it, whether they want to see other countries do it first, or whatever peace of mind they are looking for, it is too slow.

For example, it is quite likely, just applying basic common sense, that we could have to go again every six months. Therefore, what arrangements are being put in place for next March, given the first of the boosters will have lapsed in five or six months? Can NIAC start considering that now, so we are not all running around like headless chickens next June or July wondering why cases have gone through the roof again? That is the first point.

The second point is on restrictions. Nothing undermines public resilience more than mixed messaging, and I have been saying that since April 2020. When I was in the Fianna Fáil parliamentary party, the Taoiseach, in particular, used to take issue and he went out publicly and said I wanted to disappear NPHET. No, I do not want to disappear NPHET, but I think the people could do with hearing one voice.

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