Wednesday, 24 March 2021
Department of Health
1428. To ask the Minister for Health if there are plans to prioritise private sector special needs education workers in the vaccine roll-out given that they are providing an invaluable service to families and in view of the fact colleagues in the HSE have already been vaccinated. [14185/21]
I propose to take Questions Nos. 1353 and 1428 together.
On the 23rdof February 2021, I announced an update to Ireland’s COVID-19 Vaccine Allocation Strategy.
In comprising the initial Vaccine Allocation Strategy, the NIAC listed several conditions associated with increased risk of severe disease and death. In the intervening period, national and international evidence has become available which has enabled a more detailed analysis of underlying conditions that may increase the risk of developing severe disease or death.
The NIAC has now been able to more comprehensively identify those medical conditions and to distinguish between those which place a person at very high or high risk of severe disease if they contract the virus. Medical conditions and the magnitude of the risk they pose will continue to be monitored and periodically reviewed.
The NIAC continues to monitor data around this disease and indeed emerging data on effectiveness of vaccines on a rolling basis. Further details are available at the following link:
The next cohort to be vaccinated (Cohort 4) are those aged 16-69 and at very high risk of severe illness and death. Vaccination of this group began in March.
The ongoing review process will continue to look at the other priority groups yet to be vaccinated, along with the competing needs of those working or living in high-risk situations, carers who deliver essential services to highly dependent individuals in the home setting, and those who are socially vulnerable/disadvantaged.
It is important to emphasise that vaccination is only one part of our response to the prevention of COVID-19 infection. People who are vaccinated need to continue with all the public health measures that have been proven to reduce the risk of infection, i.e., limiting our social contacts, physical distancing, wearing a mask, hand hygiene, cough etiquette and avoiding non-essential travel until a sufficiently large proportion of the population are immune.
1354. To ask the Minister for Health if there are plans to include radiographers and radiation therapists on the list of professions in SI 698 of 2020; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [14033/21]
1666. To ask the Minister for Health if his Department has considered allowing dental hygienists to participate in the national roll-out of Covid-19 vaccinations as vaccinators. [15027/21]
1927. To ask the Minister for Health his views on permitting dental hygienists to participate in the national roll-out of Covid-19 vaccinations as vaccinators; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [15918/21]
I propose to take Questions Nos. 1354, 1666 and 1927 together.
The HSE are building and deploying its workforce in order to be prepared for the requirements associated with rolling out the COVID-19 vaccine programme.
GPs, Pharmacists, doctors, nurses, paramedics, and many healthcare professionals, will have a role to play in the vaccination programme.
In addition, on Tuesday 23 February 2021, I signed the Medicinal Products (Prescription and Control of Supply) (Amendment) (No. 4) Regulations 2021. The purpose of these amending Regulations is to add registered optometrists and registered dentists to the list of professionals who may supply and administer Covid-19 vaccinations.
The vaccine roll out is being conducted on a 7-day week basis and to date, more than 10,900 staff have received training to operate as vaccinators. To support the expanded immunisation programme the HSE launched a vaccinator recruitment campaign at the end of February.
It is not intended that radiographers, radiation therapists or dental hygienists will be called upon to participate as vaccinators in the programme at this time.