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Trinity College Dublin academics invite public to event on Ireland’s response to Covid-19


Professor Luke O’Neill

Professor Luke O’Neill

Professor Luke O’Neill

Trinity College Dublin academics Kingston Mill and Luke O Neill are inviting the public to a free event in the university on Saturday where top scientists, doctors and economists, who became household names during the Covid-19 crisis, will look at how Ireland fared.

A key question of the gathering will be whether we are ready for the next pandemic.

Prof Mills, who is professor of experimental immunology and the academic director of the Trinity Biomedical Sciences Institute said: “While Ireland did a reasonable job coping with the Covid-19 pandemic, we were ill-prepared to deal with a highly transmissible virus that infected so many people and had our healthcare system on its knees, so for the next infectious disease pandemic, we need a pandemic preparedness plan built on a solid foundation of science.”

The event is hosted by the Trinity Biomedical Sciences Institute and includes Prof Luke O Neill, Professor Orla Hegarty, who is an associate professor at the School of Architecture, Planning & Environmental Policy at UCD and Professor Cliona Ni Cheallaigh, associate professor and consultant in infectious diseases at St James’ Hospital and Trinity College Dublin.

Prof Cliona O’Farrelly, professor of comparative immunology at Trinity and co-ordinator of Saturday’s event said: "The Covid-19 pandemic created havoc at many levels, but Ireland coped and continues to cope.

"Could we have coped better? Will we be better prepared in future pandemics? The public discussion on Saturday June 11 will explore these questions with the help of ethicists, economists, doctors and scientists. Please join us."

The event takes place from 9.30am to 12.30pm at the TBSI building, on Pearse Street in the capital.

It is free but people are asked to register online.

Covid-19 cases are rising in Ireland although globally the number of reported cases and deaths continues to decline.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) said there is not enough testing, and not enough vaccination.

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On average, about three-quarters of health workers and people aged over 60 globally have been vaccinated.

But these rates are much lower in low-income countries.

Almost 18 months since the first vaccine was administered, 68 countries have still not achieved 40pc coverage.

Vaccine supply is now sufficient, but demand in many countries with the lowest vaccination rates is lacking.

WHO and partners are working with countries to drive vaccine uptake by getting shots to people through mobile units, door-to-door campaigns and by mobilizing community leaders.

The perception that the pandemic is over is understandable, but misguided, it said.

More than 7,000 lost their lives to this virus last week. A new and even more dangerous variant could emerge at any time, and vast numbers of people remain unprotected.

"The pandemic is not over, and we will keep saying it’s not over until it is".

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