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Uptake of Covid-19 vaccine for children highest in Dublin while Donegal sees lowest rate in country

Urban-rural divide in update of Covid-19 vaccine for children in Ireland

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A major urban-rural divide has emerged in the take-up of the Covid-19 vaccine for five- to 11-year-old children, according to latest figures.

The highest uptake was in Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown in Dublin at 53pc, followed by Blackrock at 48pc and Glencullen-Sandyford at 48pc.

This compares to just 4pc of children getting the jab in Buncrana, Co Donegal, 5pc in Carndonagh in the north of the county and 6pc in Belmullet, Co Mayo.

Nationally, 23.9pc of children have been vaccinated, as parents have been slow in taking them to get the jab. Take-up in other areas include 23pc in Sligo-Drumcliffe, 21pc in Ennis, 25pc in Limerick city, 6pc Belmullet, 9pc in Ballinamore, Leitrim, 19pc in Tralee and 21pc in Ennis.

The vaccine has been available for more than six months, beginning with children who were medically vulnerable.

There were 530 cases of Covid in five- to 12-year-olds in the week July 3 to 9, with eight hospitalised.

According to the HSE: “Though serious illness from Covid-19 is rare in this age group, they are even less likely to become seriously ill with Covid-19 if they are vaccinated.

“It is also especially important for children and young people living with someone who is at risk from the effects of Covid-19.”

The latest Irish figures from the Central Statistics Office (CSO) come as the European Medicines Agency (EMA) said that it is currently evaluating an application to extend the use of the Moderna vaccine in children aged six months to five years.

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A spokeswoman said: “The evaluation started on May 10. When our human medicines committee reaches an opinion we will communicate about it.”

It comes amid further signs that the summer Covid wave is slowing down in Ireland, with a fall in admissions to hospital.

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There were 888 Covid patients in hospital on Saturday compared to more than 1,000 earlier in the week.

Of these, 39 were in intensive care, compared to 46 on Wednesday.

Meanwhile, since March some 21 probable cases of children with hepatitis of unknown cause have been identified in Ireland, and a small number of children are under investigation. All probable cases are in children aged under 12 years, and 20 of the 21 cases were hospitalised.

Early on, one child died and two had liver transplants but the children who have been affected since have recovered.

As of July 8, some 35 countries in five World Health Organisation regions have reported 1,010 probable cases.

Adenovirus continues to be the most frequently detected pathogen among cases.

This was detected by PCR in 52pc of cases with available results. In Japan, adenovirus was detected in 9pc of cases with known results.

Covid has been detected in a number of cases, however data on serology results are limited. The cause of these hepatitis cases remains under investigation.

The European Centre for Disease Control said it is working in close collaboration with involved countries, the WHO and other relevant stakeholders on the investigation.

The current leading hypothesis is that a co-factor affecting young children having an adenovirus infection, which would be mild in normal circumstances, triggers a more severe infection or immune-mediated liver damage.

Other areas are still under investigation and have not been excluded but are considered less plausible.

It said the disease is rare and evidence around human-to-human transmission remains unclear; cases in the EU are almost entirely sporadic.



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