Government’s vaccination targets can still be met, says IMO GP committee chair

ireland
Government’s Vaccination Targets Can Still Be Met, Says Imo Gp Committee Chair
Coronavirus, © PA Wire/PA Images
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By Michelle Devane, PA

The Government can still meet its target of vaccinating 80 per cent of the population by June, the chairman of the GP Committee of the Irish Medical Organisation has said.

Dr Denis McCauley said he believes the rollout of the vaccination programme is going well and that it will be possible for the goals to be reached.

The Government’s aim is to vaccinate at least 80 per cent of the population with at least a first dose of Covid-19 vaccine by the end of June.

It has a target of 250,000 weekly doses of the vaccine being administered.

Dr McCauley told RTE’s Morning Ireland programme it is possible for the targets to be met despite supply issues.

“The vaccination programme is going well,” he said.

“We’re along the European average, we’re doing as well as we can.

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“If you compare us with Denmark, the only difference is they got extra Pfizer so I think we should be pleased.

“The infrastructure and the people are working hard, as soon as we get vaccines we’re giving it.”

People walk past a new mural at Dublin’s Grand Canal Docks by the artist CHELS (Chelsea Jacobs) (Niall Carson/PA)

Dr McCauley described the rates of coronavirus in the community as “steady”, adding this was primarily due to the “good actions of the Irish people” and that the rates were not coming down further because the variant was more infectious.

Asked about the possibility of the lengthening the gap between the administration of doses of Pfizer, Moderna and AstraZeneca vaccines he said there would need to be evidence to show any change would make a difference.

“Nothing dents that confidence more than a bit of confusion and change and so the modelling would have to be very clear and very obvious before I would do it,” he said.

“Any change has to be shown to be a very good idea.”

Dr McCauley also said he believed mental health issues would become a long-term issue post-Covid.

“Everybody is talking about long Covid but I think one of the specialities that will be experiencing this in the long term is the psychiatric services,” he said.

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He said there are certain people who are anxious and this whole time has been very difficult and then he said there were others who thrive on company and also find it difficult.

“People are tired and also anxious and depressed,” he added.

“It will be one of the long Covid features that we will be treating, even when the lockdown is eased somewhat.

“It will take a long time for the effect of the lockdown to sort of dissipate for these people, so it has been very difficult for them.”

People aged 64 can now register to receive the vaccine through the HSE’s online portal.

Registration will be available for people aged between 63 and 60 over the coming days.

To date more than 148,000 people between 65 and 69 years have registered for the jab through the portal.

The rollout of the vaccines in the over 70s age group and the high risk cohort is continuing.

On Friday morning there were 166 people with coronavirus in hospital, including 48 in ICU.

The Department of Health confirmed 10 more deaths linked to Covid-19 and 617 new cases of the virus on Thursday.

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