Naughten raises housebound vaccine concerns
There were fewer than five cases of Covid-19 confirmed in County Roscommon yesterday (Wednesday) as the county continues on its encouraging recent trend.
As of Tuesday (27th), Roscommon’s 14-day incidence rate per 100,000 of the population was 60.4, less than half the national average of 121.2. The five-day moving average was just two, and in the 14 days leading up to yesterday, 39 new cases had been confirmed in the county.
Nationally, there were sadly 13 additional deaths related to the disease and a further 371 confirmed cases. Of the deaths, three occurred in April, three in March, and seven occurred in February of earlier. The median age of those who died was 85 while the age range was 60 to 95.
As of last Monday (26th), there have been 1,417,942 doses of Covid-19 vaccine administered in Ireland. 1,014,640 people have now received their first dose while 403,302 have received their second.
Meanwhile, local Independent TD Denis Naughten has said that up to 1,100 appointments by the National Ambulance Service for people over the age of 70 were unaccounted for, according to evidence presented in the Dáil on Thursday last.
The service was expected to be ramped up this week.
“The figures presented to the Dáil by Minister Mary Butler, Minister for Older People, do not add up and are also at variance with information provided directly by the HSE, resulting in a minimum of 600 to 1,100 vaccination appointments being unaccounted for. This is enough to ensure that every housebound person could have received their initial vaccination by now,” Deputy Naughten said.
The Independent TD claimed that the HSE had told his colleague, Cllr. Dr. Evelyn Parson, on March 31st, that there were 2,700 initial referrals by GPs for home vaccination and this was likely to reduce after validation.
“However, Minister Butler told the Dáil (on Thursday last) that 3,200 initial referrals were made and that the figure subsequently went up. This is a minimum discrepancy of 500 initial referrals. Both figures cannot be correct.
“Secondly, based on the estimate provided to the Dáil, the ambulance service should have undertaken 2,400 appointments in the last six weeks. In other words, the dedicated ambulance vaccination crews should have physically attended 2,400 homes.
“Minister Butler told the Dáil that the HSE has offered just 1,800 appointments, and that these offers may not all be taken up for a range of reasons, including refusal or a person entering long-term care or being unwell. This is a minimum discrepancy of 600 appointments.
“These two figures alone, without even considering appointments cancelled, would have generated an additional 1,100 appointments – enough to ensure that every person waiting for their first vaccine jab would have received it by now,” Deputy Naughten said.