A stop-start vaccination policy

 

Sir, – Enough is enough. It is the job of the Government to make decisions and it must not abrogate this responsibility to Niac, Nphet and other numerous advisers for whom no one voted. Implementing the vaccination programme is imperative if citizens are to retain any confidence in democracy. – Yours, etc,

MARGARET LEE,

Newport,

Co Tipperary.

Sir, – Lately I have found myself wondering if Government representatives believe what they are saying. I then begin to wonder if they believe that we believe what they are saying. And further to that I start to contemplate if they believe that we believe that they believe what they are saying. It’s all quite unbelievable. – Yours, etc,

EAMON FARRELL,

Sandymount,

Dublin 4.

Sir, – Full marks to Conor Lindsay (Letters, April 14th) in suggesting that the AstraZeneca vaccine be made available at selected centres to all who want it on a first come, first served basis. Throughout this pandemic, the public have been a step ahead of the Government and Nphet in deciding what is the safest route to negotiate their way through this crisis. We are all fed up with the dithering and mixed messages from the so-called experts. Let the public themselves be informed and decide. – Yours, etc,

NIALL PELLY (snr),

Foxrock,

Dublin 18.

Sir, – Much praise has rightly been showered on frontline workers in the HSE, but can I also draw attention to the backroom workers who are being driven insane trying to administer the vaccine programme. It must be horrendously difficult to manage the logistics when the parameters are constantly shifting. They deserve our thanks as well. – Yours, etc,

SEAMUS CANNON,

Monkstown,

Co Dublin.

Sir, – We are in danger of scuppering our vaccination rollout and thus a return to normality in this country unless we have some perspective on the risks and side-effects purported to be causally linked to the AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson vaccines.

The particularly uncommon form of clotting in the veins around the brain, cerebral venous sinus thrombosis (CVST), has a quoted incidence of between two to five million per year, although some recent reports suggest it could be much higher as it usually requires a special type of MRI to diagnose accurately. In a study from Adelaide published in the journal Stroke (2016), the incidence was found to be as high as 15 per million.

Thus when we read in your article “Q&A: What happens next for injections linked to clotting” (April 14th) that six cases of CVST occurred in seven million people who received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, this is actually less than expected in a control population of unvaccinated people where between 14 and 35 cases would have arisen.

I understand that the temporal link and clustering make it a little more suspicious but we have to ask the important question – how many out of that seven million cohort would have died or suffered serious illness if they had chosen not to be vaccinated?

We have more than enough experts in clotting disorders and epidemiology in this country whose voices need to be heard, clearly putting the risk versus benefit ratio in true perspective. – Yours, etc,

Dr GRAHAM WILSON,

Rathmines,

Dublin 6.

Sir, – Nphet gives medical advice to the Government but it is the Government that takes the decisions as public representatives.

The “A” in Niac stands for “Advisory” and the public should be free to accept that advice or reject it, with all due respect. The Pill or a long-haul flight, we are advised, have higher risks of clotting and we are free to make the decision to take that risk. The reward of immunity from Covid, or at least not getting so ill we die, is greater than flying to California, and I believe that if I want to take that risk my public representatives should permit me to reject Niac’s advice and do so. A simple disclaimer form should be put on the Government website and anyone who signs up can go on a list and get vaccinated. I am emailing my TDs to say I know the risk and want the vaccine. I believe TDs will get more requests than they have vaccines. – Yours, etc,

DAVID DOYLE,

Goatstown,

Dublin 14.

Sir, – Is it too much to ask our leaders to apply an “abundance of common sense” to go along with the much-quoted “abundance of caution”? – Yours, etc,

JOHN LOMBARD,

Goatstown,

Dublin 14.

Sir, – Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly has a day job involving Covid case counts and tests, hospital capacities, lockdown plans, quarantine strategies, etc, and that’s all before we get to actually running the health service and vaccinating people.

Surely it’s time that the Taoiseach appointed a Minister with one job and one job only – to vaccinate people safely and with pace. – Yours, etc,

PETER FOLEY,

Tramore,

Co Waterford.

Sir, – The mortality rate among confirmed Covid cases in this country stands at just under 2 per cent.

Meanwhile the HSE has stated that between four and 10 out of every million people who get the AstraZeneca vaccine may get blood clots, and one of those may die – a mortality rate of 0.0001 per cent.

Given the above figures, it beggars belief that the powers that be have suspended vaccination.

I for one am happy to take the risk; a 99.99999 per cent chance of getting my life back seems reasonable to me. – Yours, etc,

RICHARD BANNISTER,

Ballsbridge,

Dublin 4.