Tuesday, 14 December 2021
Ceisteanna ó Cheannairí - Leaders' Questions
The Taoiseach did not address the issue of removing the age restrictions. It is a really important issue. I spoke today to a GP who told me that when a patient comes into his surgery for something else, he will ask if the patient has received a booster. He is quite happy to provide it and that can be done quickly, but if the person is not over the age of 50 or within the recognised cohorts, he cannot administer the booster. Equally with pharmacists, if people are coming into their pharmacies, there are opportunities to administer the booster but those people have to be over 50. In particular, the issue of the younger age group who got the Johnson & Johnson vaccine and are especially vulnerable now because they are not included for the boosters needs to be addressed.
There does not seem to be any way of recording the fact that a person has had a booster. Increasingly, other European countries are placing limits on people who do not have proof of having received a booster. Austria, for example, is not allowing people in unless they have proof of a booster. We do not have any records in that regard.
How many additional beds is the Taoiseach making available from the private sector in order to deal with what is likely to be a very substantial increase in the need for hospital beds?