Written answers

Thursday, 18 November 2021

Photo of Róisín ShortallRóisín Shortall (Dublin North West, Social Democrats)
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344. To ask the Minister for Health if he will give consideration to issuing public health advice in relation to vitamin d supplementation in view of recent findings (details supplied) regarding the importance of vitamin d in protecting against Covid-19; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [56816/21]

Photo of Stephen DonnellyStephen Donnelly (Wicklow, Fianna Fail)
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With regard to Vitamin D supplementation in the population, the Deputy is advised that the existing guidance on vitamin D was updated in November 2020 and advises that in addition to following a healthy diet, adults aged 65 years and older to take a 15 microgram (600 IU) daily supplement for bone and muscle health?.

Available to read here: www.gov.ie/en/press-release/7d595-new-advice-on-vitamin-d-supplement-for-people-aged-65-years-and-older/

Developments in relation to potential interventions are kept under frequent review, and a HIQA evidence synthesis paper on? potential interventions for COVID-19, including vitamin D, prepared for the NPHET, was discussed at its meeting on 26thMay 2021.

Available to read here: www.hiqa.ie/sites/default/files/2021-08/Advice-to-NPHET_Interventions-to-prevent-COVID-19.pdf

The NPHET minutes of 26thMay are available to read here: www.gov.ie/en/collection/691330-national-public-health-emergency-team-covid-19-coronavirus/#april-june-2021

The Department notes that while numerous studies have been published suggesting an association in relation to the role of vitamin D status and vitamin D supplementation in COVID-19, that the quality of this evidence is low and subject to many confounding factors.

The NPHET has agreed that there is insufficient high-quality evidence with respect to vitamin D in the prevention and treatment of COVID-19, and noted that ongoing developments, particularly Randomised Control Trials, in this area be monitored by the NPHET with guidance reviewed accordingly.

The NPHET agreed that efforts should be made to increase awareness of existing guidance. Adults spending increased time indoors or those who are housebound or in long-term residential care or have dark skin pigmentation are also recommended to take a daily vitamin D supplement.

These recommendations for the use of vitamin D have been incorporated into wider messaging, and additionally are being communicated across the health service, including nursing homes and social care settings, as necessary. The Department of Health issued a communication to the HSE and Nursing Homes Ireland to encourage implementation of guidance on vitamin D in nursing homes in February 2021. Additional communication is planned for November 2021.

The Government will continue to look to the NPHET to provide recommendations with regard to Vitamin D and COVID-19.

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