Coronavirus: 1,819 new cases confirmed in State, as Glynn assures public ‘vaccines work’

More than 6m vaccine doses administered to date, with 78% of adults fully vaccinated

 Dr Ronan Glynn said vaccination, combined with basic public health measures, is the most effective way to protect the community against Covid-19. Photograph: Colin Keegan/Collins Dublin

Dr Ronan Glynn said vaccination, combined with basic public health measures, is the most effective way to protect the community against Covid-19. Photograph: Colin Keegan/Collins Dublin

 

A further 1,819 cases of Covid-19 were confirmed in the State on Wednesday evening as deputy chief medical officer Ronan Glynn sought to assure the public that the vaccination programme was working.

The number of people in hospital with the illness is now 206, of which 36 are in intensive care units (ICU), according to the National Public Health Emergency Team.

Writing in an op-ed released by the Department of Health on Wednesday, Dr Glynn said vaccination uptake in Ireland has been high and as vaccination rates increase, there will be more vaccinated and fewer vaccinated people.

As a result, the proportion of cases among vaccinated people will increase, said Dr Glynn.

“This does not mean that vaccines are not working,” said Dr Glynn. “A good way to think about this is in relation to road safety – the majority of people who die on our roads are wearing a safety belt. This does not mean that safety belts do not work.”

No vaccine is 100 per cent protective, he said, and some vaccinated people will still become sick. However, the risk of severe illness is much lower if a person has been vaccinated.

Dr Glynn said of the 169 adults admitted to ICU with Covid-19 since April 1st, six had been fully vaccinated more than 14 days prior to their diagnosis. Of 155 adults who have died with Covid-19 since the same date, seven had been fully vaccinated more than 14 days prior to their diagnosis.

“Vaccines work,” said Dr Glynn, adding they are about 80 per cent effective at preventing symptomatic Covid-19 and about 95 per cent at preventing hospitalisation.

Protect

Earlier, Dr Glynn said said vaccination, combined with basic public health measures, is the most effective way to protect the community against Covid-19.

“From tomorrow, registration for the Covid-19 vaccine programme opens for young people aged between 12 and 15 years of age. With over 6 million vaccine doses administered to date, each week we reach another important milestone in our journey out of this pandemic,” said Dr Glynn.

Parents of children aged between 12 and 15 living in Ireland can register their child for a vaccine from Thursday. Consent is required by a parent or legal guardian in advance or on the day of vaccination.

Speaking as the latest Covid-19 figures were published, Dr Glynn said: “If you are pregnant and you have concerns about taking the vaccine, speak to your GP, obstetrician or midwife for guidance and for bespoke health advice for your pregnancy.

“Use trusted sources of information such as the HSE or Department of Health for the latest vaccine information.”

Earlier on Tuesday, the Master of the Rotunda maternity hospital has said 60 per cent of patients and partners “walking around the Rotunda hospital” are not vaccinated, meaning Covid-19 restrictions on attending partners cannot be lifted.

Prof Fergal Malone told RTÉ Radio’s Morning Ireland programme that the hospital carried out surveys of the vaccination status of patients and their partners every week. This week, only 39 per cent of expectant mothers were vaccinated and just 41 per cent of their partners were fully vaccinated.

“It’s not surprising that there’s some vaccine hesitancy – but what that means is 60 per cent of patients and their partners walking around the Rotunda hospital today are not vaccinated and are therefore vulnerable to Covid infection - more likely to transmit.”

The National Immunisation Advisory Committee (Niac) advises that pregnant women should be given an mRNA Covid-19 vaccine between 14 and 36 weeks’ gestation following a discussion about risks with their care giver.

Vaccine

The latest figures follow confirmation from Prof Brian MacCraith, chair of the high level task force on Covid-19, that more than 89 per cent of adults in the State have received at least one dose of vaccine.

Seventy-eight per cent of adults have been fully vaccinated, which makes up 60 per cent of the total population.

There have been 6.2 million vaccine doses administered to date.

The Department of Health has sought legal advice on mixing Covid-19 vaccines made by different manufacturers, The Irish Times has learned.

Due to the impact of going “off-label” and mixing vaccines in a way that was not included in clinical trials, legal input has been sought from the Attorney General’s office and other agencies before it is passed to Minister Stephen Donnelly for a final decision.

Preliminary advice on the issue, which could see different vaccines mixed in a two-dose regime, was given to chief medical officer Dr Tony Holohan in recent weeks by Niac. However, a formal recommendation has yet to be given to Mr Donnelly.

The Department of Health on Tuesday night said the advice would be provided to the Minister “shortly”.

Meanwhile, a further three people with Covid-19 have died in Northern Ireland, the North’s Department of Health reported on Wednesday.

An additional 1,467 new cases of the virus were confirmed.

A total of 321 people with Covid-19 are receiving hospital treatment in Northern Ireland, with 40 in intensive care. – Additional reporting by PA