Michael McDowell: Ireland appears to have a last-minute approach to mass immunisation

Our public health team must take a more visible role in advising on the vaccination drive

Up to 150,000 Israelis are now being vaccinated daily and that country has now passed the one-million immunisation milestone. File photograph: Getty

Up to 150,000 Israelis are now being vaccinated daily and that country has now passed the one-million immunisation milestone. File photograph: Getty

It is relatively straightforward to make a statutory instrument under the Health Act 1947 imposing, in varying degrees, local, regional or national lockdowns. By the stroke of a ministerial pen, an economic sector can be closed down, severely restricted, or permitted to trade as normal.

The acronym Nphet stands for National Public Health Emergency Team. It is there to deal with public health emergencies. We are in an emergency, have been since March 2020. The State’s reaction to the Covid-19 emergency has gone through a number of phases and a succession of planned levels of response. Looking at how Israel is coping with its emergency (which became much more seriously out of hand than the pandemic in Ireland), we can see that 150,000 Israelis are now being vaccinated daily and that they have already passed the one-million vaccination milepost. Several features deserve mention.

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