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Leftover vaccines can be given to spouses of over-85s, GPs are told

100,000 vaccines to be distributed this week to cover healthcare staff and also those aged 85 and over


Patrick Ward (87) receives the Covid-19 vaccine from Dr Victoria Bradley in the  Arranmore Health Clinic, Arranmore, Co Donegal. Photo: Joe Dunne

Patrick Ward (87) receives the Covid-19 vaccine from Dr Victoria Bradley in the  Arranmore Health Clinic, Arranmore, Co Donegal. Photo: Joe Dunne

Patrick Ward (87) receives the Covid-19 vaccine from Dr Victoria Bradley in the  Arranmore Health Clinic, Arranmore, Co Donegal. Photo: Joe Dunne

GPs who have leftover vaccines after a session with patients 85 years old and older can vaccinate a husband or wife as long as they are over 70, according to new guidelines for GPs.

It comes as the roll-out of the vaccine to patients over 85 continues in GP practices this week.

Under the guidance issued by the Irish Medical Organisation, GPs are told it is critical to have a reserve list of patients to be vaccinated from any additional vials.

When all the patients aged 85 and over who have a confirmed appointment have been vaccinated, and there are surplus vaccines, the doctors should prioritise patients in the next age group aged 80-84.

However, they could vaccinate a patient’s spouse or partner who is younger but they have to be aged over 70.

They could also vaccinate members of the GP team in their practice or frontline healthcare workers in the community who are registered with the practice and aged over 70.

Not all GP practice team members have received the vaccine yet and they will have to go to a hospital to get the jab in the next two weeks.

Around 100,000 vaccines will be distributed this week to cover mostly healthcare staff and also those aged 85 and over. Around 250 GP practices are also to get vaccine for patients over 85.

In some practices in remote rural areas the HSE is to deliver doses of the Moderna vaccine which will be offered to patients over 70.

Last week 13,500 of the over-85s were given a first dose. There are around 72,000 people in this age group.

Overall, 214,384 people up to Friday got a first dose since vaccination began and 126,320 of them are now fully vaccinated with two doses.

Three cases of the Brazilian variant of the virus were reported as detected on Friday in travellers who had come here from the country. It is still unclear at what point the virus was diagnosed after they arrived in the country.

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Meanwhile, vaccination has been linked to a substantial reduction in the risk of Covid-19 admissions to hospitals in Scotland.

The study is the first to describe across an entire country the effect of the Pfizer and Oxford-AstraZeneca jabs in the community on preventing severe illness resulting in hospitalisation. Previous results about vaccine efficacy have come from clinical trials.

By the fourth week after receiving the initial dose, the Pfizer and Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccines were shown to reduce the risk of hospitalisation from Covid-19 by up to 85pc and 94pc respectively.

Among those aged 80 years and over – one of the highest risk groups – vaccination was associated with an 81pc reduction in hospitalisation risk in the fourth week, when the results for both vaccines were combined.

As part of the EAVE II project, which uses patient data to track the pandemic and the vaccine roll-out in real time, researchers from the Universities of Edinburgh, Strathclyde, Aberdeen, Glasgow and St Andrew’s and Public Health Scotland analysed a dataset covering the entire Scottish population of 5.4 million.

Data on vaccine effect was gathered between December 8 and February 15. During this period, 1.14 million vaccines were administered and 21pc of the Scottish population had received a first dose based on their government’s prioritisation. The Pfizer vaccine was given to 650,000 people and 490,000 have had the Oxford-AstraZeneca jab.

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