The vaccination programme

Sir, – It is always jam tomorrow with this Government and, if we are good children, we’ll get our jam, but only if we are good.

In Northern Ireland, 38 per cent of the overall population have been vaccinated, with 50 per cent of the adult population getting the jab using an aged-based roll-out. Robin Swann, Northern Ireland’s Minister for Health, and a reasonable and decent man, explained succinctly the rationale behind his aged-based roll-out, having taken the scientific advice available to him. He referenced those at greatest risk and the adverse complexities of proceeding on a worker or profession basis. Was this “incontrovertible” science not available to Leo Varadkar, et al?

So successful has this approach been that proportionally this would equate to 1.87million people being vaccinated in the Republic. As it stands,only 10.3 per cent of the population have been vaccinated.

It is shambolic. Mr Varadkar points public health guidance for this abrupt change of course by claiming that the “advice was late coming” to the Government.


Without a trace of irony, he regrets that the unions weren’t consulted as the changes to the plan were leaked as the Cabinet was meeting.

In the meantime, we suffer what we must as our lives are put on hold for another year and our politicians stumble from one fiasco to another. – Yours, etc,



Co Donegal.

Sir, – The teachers of Ireland should perhaps redirect their anger from the Government to the HSE.

By changing the sequence of vaccination rollout from Cohort groups to age, the Government has probably saved the HSE from embarrassment in the coming weeks. The tipping point is coming when vaccine supply is going to greatly increase and it is doubtful if the HSE has the organisational capability to “scale-up” at the same time.

Given the reports in the media of double-booked vaccination appointments and the crazy application process that more than competent clinicians are undertaking to be vaccinators, it is evident that the HSE would cause rollout delays to all occupations, ages, and cohort groups as it just does not have the IT system in place.

The UK and Denmark are successfully rolling out vaccines on the basis of age.

There is no shame in copying what is working elsewhere. – Yours, etc,




Dublin 3.

Sir, – I read with interest the article by Jennifer Bray ("Age is key factor in Covid risk, says expert", News, April 1st) and welcome the new focus on age being the main determinant for deciding who should have priority access to Covid vaccines. Maybe now, my mother (91) might finally be offered hers.

As she is confined to the house and cannot travel to her GP, she has been transferred to a “HSE domiciliary” list since March 19th. The GP cannot do a house call as the vaccine is not stable outside the practice. At the time, she was informed that there could be a one-month delay, maybe two months or even six months, before the ambulance service can visit her home. I telephoned her GP practice today to check and there is no change to this advice. The only place the GP practice could refer my queries to is the HSE freephone Covid number. Each time I called this number they referred me back to the practice.

This unacceptable and impossible situation needs to be addressed. – Yours, etc,



Co Donegal.

Sir, – As someone lucky enough to be offered a vaccination in the 70s age group, I was asked in a GP confirmatory phone-call, if I was pregnant! Then, my husband in the same age group, was asked by the same person the same question!

More seriously, looking at the present nonsense in an emergency of the recruitment of medical volunteers as vaccinators, where retired and practising professionals are required to present birth certs and Junior Cert results, when will the legal and medical professions get together to discuss the pervasive, crippling problem of litigation in our society? – Yours, etc,



Dublin 8.