Most Covid deaths, intensive care admissions among unvaccinated

Almost six in 10 deaths in two-month period were among people who had not got vaccine

Between March 25th and July 11th there were 131 ICU admissions for Covid patients. Of these, 80 per cent (105) had not been vaccinated. Photograph: Gareth Fuller/Getty Images

Between March 25th and July 11th there were 131 ICU admissions for Covid patients. Of these, 80 per cent (105) had not been vaccinated. Photograph: Gareth Fuller/Getty Images

 

Most deaths and intensive-care admissions linked to Covid-19 in recent weeks have been among people who were not vaccinated, latest Health Service Executive (HSE) figures show.

Colm Henry, chief operating officer of the HSE, said 70 people with the virus have died in Irish hospitals between May 14th and July 13th.

Of those, almost six in 10 (41) had not received any dose of vaccine. Nearly a quarter (17) were only partially protected against the disease, having been administered with one jab.

Less than a fifth (12) of the Covid-related deaths were of people who had received both doses of their vaccine.

All of the 12 who died after both doses were aged over 65 years. Ten of them died within 14 days of having got their second dose.

In Ireland, people are considered fully vaccinated two weeks after getting their second dose, other than with the Pfizer/BioNtech vaccine, which is recommended for under-50s and takes seven days.

Intensive-care admissions

Figures for intensive-care admissions linked to Covid-19 show even more stark differences between the vaccinated and unvaccinated.

Between March 25th and July 11th there were 131 ICU admissions for Covid patients.

Of these, 80 per cent (105) had not been vaccinated. Another 15 per cent (20) were partially vaccinated, having received one dose, while 5 per cent (six) had received both jabs.

Of the 26 deaths among those who had received either one or both doses, the vast majority (88 per cent) had underlying conditions, according to Dr Henry.

All deaths occurred as the more transmissible Delta strain of the virus took over as the dominant variant in Ireland.

HSE chief executive Paul Reid said the impact of the variant in August and September would be crucial to efforts to reopen society without swamping the health service with new Covid cases.

“Exhausted” healthcare workers also needed a break over the coming weeks, he said.

He was speaking as 1,189 more confirmed cases of Covid-19 were reported the State. As of 8am on Thursday, 95 Covid-19 patients were hospitalised, of whom 23 were in ICU.

Overall, 5.3 million vaccinations have been administered in the State since the start of the programme. More than three million people (80 per cent of the eligible population) have received their first dose, and almost 2.5 million (66 per cent) had received a second jab.

“Two in every three adults are now fully protected,” Mr Reid said.

An age breakdown from the HSE showed 99 per cent of those aged 80 and more than had been vaccinated, 98 per cent of those in their 70s, 95 per cent of those in their 60s, 93 per cent of those in their 50s and 87 per cent of those in their 40s.

Vaccination of people aged in their 30s is ongoing, but figures show a 73 per cent uptake to date.

In Northern Ireland, a further 1,430 cases of Covid-19 were reported on Thursday.

‘Name and shame’

Meanwhile, Tánaiste Leo Varadkar has called on staff to “name and shame” any employers who are making it difficult for them to take time off to get vaccinated.

Speaking on Newstalk’s Pat Kenny show, Mr Varadkar urged such employers to “have a heart, basically”.

Any employers who were not flexible with their staff should be named, he said, as it was “common sense” to allow staff to get vaccinated. Mr Varadkar said he understood there were exceptions when staff received a vaccination appointment at short notice but that in most cases there was sufficient advance notice to allow changing of work shifts.

Employers really should let their staff take time off work to get vaccinated and not have their wages docked, he said.

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