Thursday, 17 December 2020
Department of Health
520. To ask the Minister for Health if persons with Down's syndrome will be prioritised for the Covid-19 vaccination due to their higher risk from the disease; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [44184/20]
539. To ask the Minister for Health if persons with special needs and disabilities are included in the grouping of persons in the 18 to 64 age category with underlying health conditions in the provisional vaccine allocation groups document; if not, the category they are in; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [44261/20]
556. To ask the Minister for Health if persons who have contracted Covid-19 in 2020 will be included in priority groups under the roll out of the Covid-19 vaccination programme; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [44297/20]
574. To ask the Minister for Health if consideration has been given to amending the provisional vaccine allocation groups to prioritise persons with Down's syndrome; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [44331/20]
604. To ask the Minister for Health the reason vulnerable persons under 70 years of age with underlining conditions such as leukaemia that fall into the HSE defined very high risk from Covid-19 are not in the same group as the over 70s for the roll out of the Covid-19 vaccine; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [44507/20]
The COVID-19 Vaccine Allocation Strategy sets out a provisional priority list of groups for vaccination once a safe and effective vaccine(s) has received authorisation from the European Medicines Agency (EMA).
The Strategy was developed by the National Immunisation Advisory Committee (NIAC) and Department of Health, endorsed by the National Public Health Emergency Team (NPHET), and approved by Government on 8 December 2020.
The Allocation Framework was developed to consider how to prioritise different groups. It is based on (1) ethical principles and (2) epidemiological considerations, and takes account of the current and evolving understanding of distinctive characteristics of COVID-19 disease, its modes of transmission, the groups and individuals most susceptible to infection and the characteristics of the candidate vaccines. The primary aim of the allocation strategy is focus on the prevention of sickness and mortality, and to preserve the health of people, by prioritising those at highest risk.
The Strategy is a further component to the State’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic, and will evolve and adapt with more detailed information on the vaccines and their effectiveness. Sequencing within and/or between cohorts, in line with the Vaccination Allocation Strategy, may be necessary due to the epidemiological situation at any given time, as well as the characteristics of the available vaccine(s), and as new data emerges, including the logistical challenges their distribution poses.
Further information on the Strategy can be found at: www.gov.ie/en/publication/39038-provisional-vaccine-allocation-groups/.