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08 Aug 2022

People in their 90s in Laois Offaly waiting for vaccine while Government 'sits on its hands'

People in their 90s in Laois Offaly waiting for vaccine while Government 'sits on its hands'

People in their 90s in Laois Offaly waiting for vaccine while Government 'sits on its hands'

Questions have been raised in the Dail after it was revealed that there were people in their 90s in the Laois Offaly constituency who have yet to receive their Covid-19 vaccinations.

Laois/Offaly TD Brian Stanley revealed the information in the Dáil on Thursday

Speaking in the Dáil, Deputy Stanley said, “if we are to emerge from the pandemic in any sort of efficient or timely manner, we need to significantly increase the supply of vaccines. Sinn Féin has called on the Minister to raise the matter with the European Commission and to put pressure on it to be more proactive around approving other effective vaccines."

Deputy Stanley pointed out that other EU countried had taken the initiative to get more vaccines into their countries.

"Other countries are doing side deals while the Government sits on its hands. Germany has done a deal with Pfizer, as has Denmark. Austria has followed suit. Slovakia and the Czechs have signed up for Sputnik, the Russian vaccine. What actions is the Government taking to speed up the European Commission and the European Medicines Agency, EMA, in terms of the approval of other effective vaccines?"

Deputy Stanley continued, "all those over the age of 80 are supposed to have been vaccinated. I know of a 97-year-old woman in my constituency who has not yet been vaccinated. Another constituent of mine, a 95-year-old man, has not yet been vaccinated. We cannot get information as to when they will be vaccinated. Both of the constituents to whom I referred are housebound. My office telephoned the HSE Helpline but we cannot obtain information.

"I cannot get an answer regarding the mobile vaccination service and the mobile vaccination unit in Laois-Offaly. Is there such a unit? All Deputies will agree there is no shortage of managers in the HSE. In fact, there are legions of them. Can one person be put in charge of the vaccine roll-out in each county?"

The Sinn Fein TD said that it was a real problem on the ground and said it must be dealt with adding that it was not acceptable that people who are approaching 100 years of age have not yet been vaccinated.

"I refer to the announcement this week of changes to the vaccine roll-out. It shows that the Government has abandoned the plan it was pursuing as it has come to the conclusion that the plan is not fit for purpose. Key workers such as teachers, gardaí and taxi drivers have been downgraded. Taxi drivers who provide services for the HSE, whose situation I raised in the House several months ago, as well as special needs assistants, SNAs, who work in close proximity to others, childcare workers and essential retail workers, have not been vaccinated."

"There has been an outbreak at the Midlands Prison in Portlaoise. Prison officers need protection They have to deal with conflict in the prison daily. They work in close quarters with no room to socially distance and they are in a very difficult situation. Some of them have raised this issue with me."

"I refer to family carers and those who work in day services for the intellectually challenged and physically disabled. We need to try to do something to get these service workers and ensure they are safe.

"We need a fair roll-out of the vaccine. I ask that his office revert to my office with an email in that regard, today if possible, because it is a really important issue. It is a life-and-death issue," Deputy Stanley concluded.

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