Miriam’s Musings

Vaccine rollout akin to winning a Willy Wonka Golden Ticket (for some)

Following what has been weeks of uncertainty and criticism regarding AstraZeneca’s unreliable delivery dispatch policies, Ireland is now apparently on course to receive ‘a large volume’ of vaccines ‘in the coming weeks’.

Well whoop-de-doo, I’m delira’ for us… so long as the vaccines are distributed to people who desperately need them, not to a gaggle of greedy guts who seem to think they’re winners of a Willy Wonka Golden Ticket, guaranteeing them access to a magic serum!

Yes readers, I’m referring to the story regarding the Beacon Hospital, who last week admitted it had given ‘leftover’ Covid-19 vaccines to teachers at a private school… a school which, by the way, is attended by its CEO’s children!

I’m sure while readers will agree with me that it’s very important we employ a zero-wastage policy when using these vaccines, they’ll also understand that this latest controversy surrounding the method in which they were administered is not just an absolute disgrace, it’s also out of line with the HSE’s sequencing guidelines. I mean come on, it screams of the healthy and the wealthy being prioritised during what is a time of extreme vaccine shortages. I can only imagine what those who are lying helpless and vulnerable in their sick beds are thinking of this scandalous queue-skipping behaviour. Callous is a word that springs to my mind!

We’re in the midst of the greatest health threat our nation has ever faced, yet there appears to be a cohort of individuals who’re happy to completely disregard the needs of the elderly and the most vulnerable in our society. To that end, I find the actions of both the recipients and the administrators of the Beacon’s ‘leftovers’ to be self-centred and shameful. They’ve managed to (for want of a better word) ‘sneakily’ secure one of our country’s extremely scarce and critical lifesaving resources for themselves – and to hell with everyone else!

However, I also feel that in cutting the queue and undermining our country’s rollout, these selfish people have shone a spotlight on the glaring inequities in our healthcare system – so maybe they’ve kind of done us a favour of sorts.

We’ve all suffered disproportionately during this pandemic, therefore we should all have equal access, and equal entitlement to vaccines – should we choose to accept them. However, the so-called privileged should never, ever, be prioritised over the vulnerable, just because they know someone who knows someone – in this case Michael Cullen, the Beacon’s CEO.

I’m sure last week’s scandalous incident is not an isolated one, and the question remains – how many more queue-jumping vaccine cheats are hiding out there? To put things in perspective readers, it’s alleged that the fees for pupils attending the school at the centre of the controversy run to €7,500 a year. If that’s not an example of two-tier elitism, I don’t know what is!


Fáilte go hÉireann – arrive, explore, abscond!

Our government finally got its act together (about a year too late in my opinion) and, at 4 am on Friday, March 26th, put into effect our Covid-19 quarantine rules. However, following what was only a matter of hours later, three individuals who entered this country from a high-risk Covid location, in quarantine in the Crowne Plaza hotel in the Santry area of Dublin, decided the rules didn’t apply to them, and so they er, legged it.

Yes folks, there’ll be no lifting of restrictions, there’ll be no haircuts, and there’ll be no meeting up with families, etc. However, on the plus side, if you fly in from some far-flung, Covid-ridden country, you can disregard those rules and enjoy your great escape! No need to bother yourself about our government’s paltry €2,000 fine or a month in prison, these little formalities only apply to the law-abiding suckers, sorry citizens.

This blatant disregard for our laws not only weakens our standing on the world stage, making us a laughing stock, it also provides us tax-paying voters with clear evidence of a chronic decline in our Justice Minister’s capacity to hold those who commit these crimes accountable.

It seems to me that while quarantining in a hotel may well be comfortable (and I don’t know about you, but I could do with a few days’ kip at a luxury location with all meals handed to me), it’s most definitely not secure. Perhaps Fáilte Ireland’s new tagline should be Fáilte go hÉireann – arrive, explore, abscond!


Keep those paws off the choccies

Regular readers will know all about my love for animals; I adore them. They’ll also know how much I love pulling out my soapbox, hopping on it, and offering any advice I can regarding their health, happiness and welfare. Therefore, as we all prepare to celebrate yet another Easter in lockdown, can I please give you a gentle reminder about the extreme danger posed by chocolate and other Easter treats to our furry friends.

If you’re a pet owner, you should know that chocolate contains a toxin called Theobromine – it’s a chemical used during the manufacturing process. Now I don’t want anyone to panic, because this type of toxin is perfectly harmless to us humans, for the simple reason that we have the capacity to break it down so quickly that it cannot act as a poison in our systems. However, our poor dogs are unable to do this; they metabolise it much slower, meaning that eating/ ingesting any kind of chocolate treat can have a detrimental, possibly fatal, effect on your fur babies.

So this Easter, if your precious pooch is around chocolate and displaying any of the following symptoms – or if you’re concerned – please call your vet as a matter of urgency. Do not wait to see how they are feeling in the morning. A few of the tell-tale signs that immediately spring to my mind are excessive thirst, diarrhoea, drooling, high temperature, hyperactivity/appears to be over-excited, if they vomit and it contains blood, if they are having an epileptic-type fit, etc.

But chocolate is not your only worry folks, keep those pooches and kitties away from the hot cross buns. You see, raisins and sultanas are toxic to both Fido and their feline friends. Your fur baby can suffer kidney failure from eating only a small amount of the type of fruits contained in a hot cross bun, so keep them away from curious noses.

Let me remind you readers – I’m not a vet, and if you’re in any doubt regarding my guidelines, I’m sure your own vet will be happy to not only confirm them – they’ll likely add a bit more cautionary advice to it. Have a lovely Easter.