There is no point giving farmers false hopes in relation to the rollout of the Covid-19 vaccine, according to Prof Sam McConkey, an expert in infectious diseases at the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland.
Speaking to the Farming Independent, he strongly encouraged farmers to take the vaccine when it becomes available to them and highlighted their important role in aiding older members of the community to also access the vaccine.
While noting that farmers, due to their age profile were vulnerable to Covid-19, he noted that the farming community has some advantages.
"Farmers work outside, and they are often fairly fit and are used to physical work.
"Farmers also understand infection. They understand the importance of not mixing sick animals with healthy animals. They understand that need for physical distancing," he said.
Indeed, Prof McConkey hailed the performance of the agriculture sector to date as the Coronavirus Pandemic continues to rage.
"I think the whole industry has done a really superb job of feeding the Irish people and reassuring us we are defiantly not going to run out of food on this island. Farmers are keeping doing what they are doing," he said.
In terms of the rollout of the vaccine, Prof McConkey said there are clear 'knowns and unknowns' right now and people should be aware of that fact.
"The vaccines seem to work very well - 90-94pc efficacy and they need two doses.
"The clinical studies have been done in human beings which are called 'Phase 3 studies' to see if the vaccine works and if it is safe with typically 30,000-40,000 people taking part.
"The European Medicines Agency (EMA) have been able to look at safety data on over 40,000 that's a larger evidence base than the usual see on new products. It's usually between 5-20k. That is very reassuring."
The EMA has followed the same procedures on reviewing this vaccine as it followed for previous vaccines.
"It hasn't done short cuts or tried emergency authorisation. They put it through the full sequence of review. Those two facts reassure me that this vaccine will be very safe.
"I think it is important in this time of change, uncertainty and instability to be straight with people. To tell them the things we do know and what we don't know based on the evidence, he said.
"There is a supply chain problem. We are struggling all over the world to get enough of it to deliver it to everyone that wants it right now.
"There's obviously 8 billion people in the world, that's 16 billion doses. Everybody is looking for them. Trying to make 16 billion doses of a vaccine that didn't exist a year ago is a big challenge."
"We don't know for sure when two doses will be available to everyone in Ireland. There is no point in saying this will happen in six months or a year because we don't know that for sure.
You can't guarantee a supply chain at a time when supply chains are disrupted anyone who says they know how many doses there will be in six months time is pushing it out a bit with more hopefulness than fact."
Vaccine immunity length
"We don't know how long the vaccination will last for and it might be that after a year or two you have to go and take another dose as you do with the flu vaccine."
Vaccine and Covid transmission
"It hasn't been proved beyond all doubt that the vaccine prevents transmission to other people.
"We know now that the vaccine prevents death, disease and sickness. That is great but does it prevent transmission to other people? We don't know if this vaccine prevents the person who has got it being infectious to others. Hopefully, it will we just don't know yet."