The biggest threat to health & getting back to normal is the outstandingly slow roll out of the vaccine - Tóibín
Aontú Leader & Meath West TD Peadar Tóibín has castigated the government handling of the Covid.
An Teachta Tóibín stated:
“Ireland has had the longest and most severe lockdown in Europe. This has not protected life more in comparison to many other European countries but it has done enormous damage to so much of Irish life. Significantly the Irish government is still mishandling the crisis with the disastrous roll out of the vaccine. As we enter our 3rd month of vaccination, only the equivalent population of 1 county, Wicklow, has been inoculated so far. Despite all the media attention on students & protestors, the biggest threat to health & getting back to normal is the outstandingly slow roll out of the vaccine”.
“Locking our supply to only the EU supply chain has been an enormous mistake. Weeks after Britain and the America had begun vaccinating, the EMA had not even approved vaccines to be administered. Britain was vaccinating huge numbers on the 8th of December, whilst it took another three weeks for Ireland even to administer their first vaccination. This is of course compounded by the shockingly inefficient roll-out of the Vaccine itself. For the last week of February, the HSE missed their vaccination targets by 18,000 doses”.
“Despite the promise by the Minister that nursing homes would be vaccinated by the end of January, there are nursing home residents only getting their first dose this week. Less than half of the population over 85 have received their first dose. The government must start to iron out the many delivery problems all over the country in delivering vaccine to doctors. I’m getting contacted in relation to vaccine; from students nurses not on placement getting their 2nd first vaccine before older get any vaccine to a GP surgery with vaccines but not having needles”.
“I have been receiving reports from several GP practices in my own constituency who have been left in limbo as to when they will receive their supply of COVID vaccines to start administering them to their elderly patients. One GP practice referred to the process as being farcical. They were informed the scheduled date they were to receive their supply was put forward to the following day meaning they had to rearrange their clinic and appointments, only for the vaccines to arrive on the original day as planned with a number of vaccines short of the quantity needed. They now have to try to navigate the process again with the HSE to obtain the extra required”.
“Another GP practice had been informed they were due to receive their supply on a date in the middle of February only for it to be cancelled. All their appointments had been set up and they had to contact patients to inform they now have no idea when the supplies will arrive. They have tried unsuccessfully since then to find out from the HSE on a daily basis when the will be supplied, but nobody within the HSE seem to be able to provide them with an answer. Meanwhile, I have elderly people and their relatives contacting me who are extremely concerned as some of them have chronic degenerative conditions. Each day without the vaccine causes more distress for these vulnerable people and their families”.
“I have made contact with the HSE GP Support Helpline set up to liaise with GP practices for vaccine distribution to try to get answers only to be told it’s a similar situation across the country with backlogs for GP practices awaiting arrival of their supplies. The COVID Vaccination Strategy is chaotic. There appears to be ineffective planning and communication, and I am asking Stephen Donnelly to step up immediately to address this now”.
“We need also to procure vaccines in addition and outside the the EU supply chain. In Germany, over two thirds of the 1.4 million doses of the Oxford Vaccine remain in storage due to low take up. The same story is playing out in France. Why is the Irish government not looking to negotiate purchase of these Vaccination stocks from Germany and France? Given the high concentration of Pharmaceutical companies in Ireland, why is the Irish government not utilising their presence here to negotiate prioritisation in sales of Vaccines? As was suggested by others, why does the government not strike a deal with Big Pharmaceuticals to draft them into service? Given their resources and expertise, the government should be looking to bolster production by Pharmaceutical companies with State support. If the government was willing to pay astronomical fees to private hospitals to reserve space never used, or to rent the Convention centre, why can they not do so to get more Vaccines? The government’s hands are not tied on this. They have several options available to them. Ireland can take control of her own vaccine programme. Germany did so, why not Ireland”?