SIPTU representatives have said the rapid growth in the Covid-19 infection rate of health care workers is a cause of major concern in light of the HSE plans to pause first dose vaccinations for workers across the health service until early February.
SIPTU Health Divisional Organiser, Kevin Figgis, said: “This planned vaccination pause could not come at worse time for health workers. Over the last number of days, there is a heightened anxiety and frustration among our members who about alleged deviations from the HSE sequencing programme. This programme was meant to be designed to underpin the safe and responsible distribution of the vaccine and we all need to have complete confidence in it."
Mr Figgis added: “Numbers published today by the Health Protection Surveillance Centre (HPSC) also clearly illustrate the need for health workers to be vaccinated with 6,834 workers infected over the last two weeks. This is a total of 20,000 health care workers infected since the pandemic began in March and a sharp increase of over 50 per cent in infection rates since Christmas.”
“The release of these stark figures comes following the publication of a seroprevalence study examining the levels of antibody evidence of Covid-19 infection among healthcare workers that confirms Health Care Assistants are the most at risk group for contracting Covid-19.”
He said: “The Government must now take immediate action to protect our frontline health workers by doing all they can to rapidly increase the supply of vaccinations coming into the country. They must also be upfront with people about the importance of sticking to the sequencing programme while protecting our most vulnerable and giving confidence to all those on the frontline of our health service that their dose is on the way.”