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Covid-19 Vaccination Programme: Statements (6 May 2021)

Stephen Donnelly: With regard to pregnant women, I need to be very careful not to be stepping in and providing clinical advice which I am not qualified to give. The context is as follows. NIAC recommended that pregnant women should be offered an mRNA vaccine between 14 and 36 weeks following an individual benefit-risk discussion with their obstetric caregiver. While there are currently no data published...

Covid-19 Vaccination Programme: Statements (6 May 2021)

Pádraig O'Sullivan: I thank the Minister, health professionals and front-line staff for the progress made over recent months in the vaccination roll-out. It is heartening to see us rolling through the different age cohorts, with people getting those much-needed jabs. That needs to be acknowledged. I thank the Minister, his Department and all those on the front line. On the 24-hour vaccination centres,...

Covid-19 Vaccination Programme: Statements (6 May 2021)

Stephen Donnelly: I start by offering the Deputy my congratulations on the birth of his daughter some time ago and on the future birth this year. My wife and I had our first two children very close together. While I congratulate the Deputy, we might have a conversation later about coping mechanisms for the very long tunnel that he is about to enter. In terms of the 24-hour vaccination centres, this came...

Covid-19 Vaccination Programme: Statements (6 May 2021)

Catherine Connolly: Unfortunately, the Minister has left 20 seconds for the Minister of State.

Covid-19 Vaccination Programme: Statements (6 May 2021)

Mary Butler: I am sure I will be answering that question later. As we all know, the roll-out to the housebound is extremely important. More than 3,500 referrals have been received from GPs for housebound patients to date. The GP determines and refers the person on to the National Ambulance Service. As of 2 May, a total of 2,045 dose 1 and 739 dose 2 vaccinations have been administered, so that is...

Covid-19 Vaccination Programme: Statements (6 May 2021)

Catherine Connolly: We must leave time for the Minister. Deputies must stay within the time as I am under time constraints.

Covid-19 Vaccination Programme: Statements (6 May 2021)

Alan Kelly: I have two blocks of two questions; I only have four questions. I want to ask something I had not intended but it is based on the Minister's response to a previous questioner. On the maternity services, there seems to be a direct contradiction between what the Minister said and what Mr. Paul Reid said an hour and a half ago. Mr. Reid said: "We believe the conditions are right that...

Covid-19 Vaccination Programme: Statements (6 May 2021)

Stephen Donnelly: I thank the Deputy for his questions. I absolutely share his view on the maternity services. I heard Paul Reid's comments earlier. Mr. Reid was signalling that the conditions are right to do this. As the Deputy and as that couple will be aware, however, that has not happened yet, which is why the dad is currently outside the hospital. We wish them the very best at this hopefully...

Covid-19 Vaccination Programme: Statements (6 May 2021)

Alan Kelly: Will that be accepted as a digital certificate? That is the issue.

Covid-19 Vaccination Programme: Statements (6 May 2021)

Stephen Donnelly: It is certainly our proposal for Ireland, for example, for anyone coming into country who would like to say he or she is vaccinated. That is all still being negotiated and worked through with the EU. The understanding, and the basis on which we are proceeding, is that member states will be given a fair amount of leniency in terms of what they do locally.

Covid-19 Vaccination Programme: Statements (6 May 2021)

Catherine Connolly: There are 50 seconds left.

Covid-19 Vaccination Programme: Statements (6 May 2021)

Alan Kelly: I understand. When are we going to include the pharmacists? I will skip the final question to give the Minister time to answer. Pharmacists have a major role to play. I know the Minister spoke about 24-hour testing centres. If he wants to go down that route, I will support him 100%. Honestly, pharmacists have a huge reach into the communities. What is the plan? What is the timeline...

Covid-19 Vaccination Programme: Statements (6 May 2021)

Catherine Connolly: The Minister has 30 seconds to conclude.

Covid-19 Vaccination Programme: Statements (6 May 2021)

Stephen Donnelly: I agree. Pharmacists have an important role to play. I would like to see them playing more of a role. A pilot scheme with 15 community-based pharmacists will start shortly. I spoke to the HSE this week about when it the pharmacists are going to be in place. I have expressed my desire to see them playing a more prominent role than they have been. The position to date has been that the...

Covid-19 Vaccination Programme: Statements (6 May 2021)

Catherine Connolly: To be fair to everybody, I have to move on. We move now to the Government slot. Deputy Murnane O'Connor has four minutes.

Covid-19 Vaccination Programme: Statements (6 May 2021)

Jennifer Murnane O'Connor: It is great to see the vaccination roll-out. Today, all 57-year-olds can register for their vaccine. What happens to those who do not register on the day their age comes up? What if they miss it or do not know about it? Can they register later? Will they be accommodated? If, for example, 220,000 60 to 69-year-olds did not register, can they do so now or must they wait until all ages are...

Covid-19 Vaccination Programme: Statements (6 May 2021)

Stephen Donnelly: We will most definitely continue to be a voice within the European Union stating that there must be global justice and an acceleration of vaccine production and distribution right across the world. The only question for us is what is the right way to do that. There are differing views as to whether a simple waiver achieves those aims. It does not identify many of the other bottlenecks. I...

Covid-19 Vaccination Programme: Statements (6 May 2021)

David Cullinane: I must say I am not comforted by that response. It was a heavily caveated response, which I was not expecting, but that is a matter for the Minister and the Government. It would be much better if we had a strong position on this but it is a matter for the Government. I will move to the vaccine roll-out and a question about registration. I am getting a lot of calls from people who are...

Covid-19 Vaccination Programme: Statements (6 May 2021)

Stephen Donnelly: I will get the Deputy a detailed breakdown. My understanding is that it might be slightly different in the 65 to 69 age category than it is for those in their 50s. There are also some regional differences. I will ask the Department to supply the Deputy with a detailed response.

Covid-19 Vaccination Programme: Statements (6 May 2021)

David Cullinane: It is important. I have checked with some of my colleagues, including those in government, who have been receiving similar queries. We want to be able to give the people the assurance that they are registered and will get a call. It would be good if we had some sense of the timeframe involved. I also wish to put to the Minister the issue of pregnant women and permission for their...

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