Covid-19: Additional 2,125 cases reported as HSE urges vaccinations

‘Never too late’ to get vaccine, says Reid as he cautions public not to dismiss medical advice

There were 259 patients in hospital with the disease as of 8am this morning. File photograph: The Irish Times

There were 259 patients in hospital with the disease as of 8am this morning. File photograph: The Irish Times

 

A further 2,125 cases of Covid-19 have been reported in the State on Saturday.

There were 259 patients in hospital with the disease as of 8am, with 54 of those in intensive care (ICU), according to the latest figures from the Department of Health.

Health Service Executive chief executive Paul Reid earlier urged the public not to dismiss medical advice in relation to the virus and said it is “never too late” to be vaccinated against it.

It comes as walk-in vaccination centres for those aged 16 or older operate countrywide this weekend.

“You may decide to ignore strong advice today from many of the top medics in the country. But please don’t dismiss it,” said Mr Reid said on Twitter. “If, as an adult, you decide not to be vaccinated, you do put yourself and others at much higher risk. We won’t leave anyone behind and it’s never too late.”

The walk-in clinics are predominantly for the first dose of the mRNA vaccines – Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna – while some are offering second doses.

There must be a gap of at least 21 days after your first dose before you can receive your second.

If you have not registered for the vaccine online, you must bring your Personal Public Service number, Eircode, mobile phone number, email address and photo ID (passport, driving licence, Garda age card, school ID) to the walk-in centre.

Parents or guardians of children aged 12 to 15 can register for them to receive the vaccine.

Prof Philip Nolan, head of the National Public Health Emergency Team data modelling group, said there has been an “extraordinary uptake” of vaccination in Ireland “and this is making us safer, but we need to give the vaccines time to work”.

Prof Nolan said more than 90 per cent of adults have had their first dose and in excess of 80 per cent are vaccinated fully .

However, he said only about 75 per cent of adults are two weeks after their final dose and that “25 per cent of the adult population not yet fully vaccinated is enough for a large wave of disease. We are seeing continued growth in incidence, numbers in hospital and ICU. The cases are predominantly in young unvaccinated or partially vaccinated adults.”

Prof Nolan said incidence of the virus should stabilise as the vaccination programme finishes and vaccines “take full effect through August and into September”.

He added that “the trajectory between now and then is uncertain and requires we minimise the risks of any social contact”.

‘Concerning’

State chief medical officer Tony Holohan warned on Friday that infection rates had not hit such highs since January. “This is a concerning indication of the level of Covid-19 circulating in our communities,” he said.

He stressed that vaccines are effective. And while it is possible for fully vaccinated individuals to become infected and pass the virus on to others, the medicine reduces that risk significantly.

“That is why it is vital for as many people as possible to come forward for vaccination against this disease,” he said.

Meanwhile, a group of pharmacists working in mass vaccination centres countrywide have written to Taoiseach Micheál Martin and Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly warning that thousands of vaccines are going to waste despite the fact many people are still waiting to be inoculated.

The group of 16 has attempted to find ways to redirect the vaccines to pharmacies where there are waiting lists but has been unsuccessful, it is understood.

A letter from Dr Lucy Jessop of the HSE’s National Immunisation Office, which was sent on August 11th, said that any unused or expired AstraZeneca or Janssen vaccines should be returned and could be removed from fridges.

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