The Minister for Health, Stephen Donnelly TD has today announced an update to Ireland’s COVID-19 Vaccine Allocation Strategy.
The Government approved the Provisional Vaccine Allocation Strategy on 8 December last year. It was noted at the time that the Strategy would be kept under review and amended as a result of changes to existing evidence and/or the epidemiological situation.
Minister Donnelly said: “Our COVID-19 Vaccination Programme has always been built on fairness and to ensure that those with the highest risk of severe disease and death were prioritised for vaccines when supplies were limited. This is why the focus has been on those living in nursing homes and our older people in the community.
“The National Immunisation Advisory Council (NIAC), in conjunction with my Department, have recommended revising the Vaccine Allocation Strategy. The National Public Health Emergency Team (NPHET) endorsed the recommendations and today they have been approved by Government.”
“The primary aim of Ireland’s COVID-19 Vaccine Allocation Strategy remains the same. We are continuing to vaccinate those who are most likely to suffer severe disease and sadly, death, as a result of contracting COVID-19. The changes we are making are based on the latest clinical and medical advice that those we are moving up the list would suffer the worst outcomes if they were to get the disease.”
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.
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.
Minister Donnelly said: “Accelerating the vaccination of those with certain pre-existing conditions is consistent with the advice given to Member States by the ECDC.”
“It also upholds the principles of minimising harm and fairness that underpin Ireland’s COVID-19 Vaccination Programme by aiming to reduce the disproportionate burden those with underlying conditions face in terms of adverse outcomes from COVID-19.”
“The NIAC continues to monitor data around this disease and indeed emerging data on effectiveness of vaccines on a rolling basis.”