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Revealed: Ireland’s priority list for Covid-19 vaccine and who will get jab first

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People aged over 65 who are living in long-term care facilities and frontline health workers are to be the first to be offered the Covid-19 vaccine, the Cabinet agreed today.

The residents and staff will be offered the vaccine in their own nursing homes or other long term care facilities.

The long-term care group are at the greatest risk of severe illness and death and in the first Covid-19 wave they accounted for more than half deaths from the virus.

The list drawn up by the country’s immunisation advisory committee looked at various groups based on rationale and ethical principles.

Ireland is hoping to get 300,000 doses of the Pfizer vaccine in January enough to immunise around 150,000 people.

In relation to long term care residents over 65 they said that prioritising them is in line with with the principle of minimising harm.

Vaccination of this group would protect those at greatest risk of a poor outcome from infection. It adheres to the principle of moral equality and the principle of fairness in recognising the disproportionate burden this group has carried.

Also top of the queue are frontline healthcare workers in direct patient contact roles or who risk exposure to bodily fluids or aerosols and those providing services essential to the vaccination programme.

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They are at very high or high risk of exposure and/or transmission. In the first wave over 30pc cases were in healthcare workers.

The third group to get the vaccine will be people over 70 and older.

It will begin with those aged 85 and older and work down to aged groups 80-84, 75-79, 70-74.

The next in line are other healthcare workers not in direct patient contact but who provide essential health services and protect patients.

They will be followed by people aged 65-69. Within this group those with certain medical conditions will be first because of their risk of getting very ill from Covid-19.

These conditions include chronic heart disease, including hypertension with cardiac involvement; chronic respiratory disease, including asthma requiring continuous or repeated use of systemic steroids or with previous exacerbations requiring hospital admission; Type 1 and 2 diabetes; chronic neurological disease; chronic kidney disease; body mass index >40; immunosuppression due to disease or treatment; chronic liver disease

They will be followed by “key workers” but they have not yet been named by occupation.

It will then move on to peopled aged 18-64 years with medical conditions which put them at high risk of severe disease.

Next will be people aged 18-64 years living working in crowded accommodation where self-isolation and social distancing is difficult to maintain.

Then it moves on to key workers in essential jobs who cannot avoid a high risk of exposure to Covid-19. They include workers in the food supply system, public and commercial transport and other vital services.

Among the final groups are those in essential to education and who face disease exposure, such as primary and second level school staff, special needs assistants, childcare workers, maintenance workers, school bus drivers.

Next will be people aged 55-64 years.

It will be targeted at those in occupations important to the functioning of society, for example: third level institutions, entertainment and goods-producing industries who work in settings where protective measures can be followed without much difficulty.

Then it will be people aged 18-54 years who did not have access to the vaccine in prior phases.

Next are children, adolescents up to 18 years and pregnant women.

Visit our Covid-19 vaccine dashboard for updates on the roll out of the vaccination program and the rate of Coronavirus cases Ireland


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