50 Covid deaths in Cork since outbreak; city GP believes vaccine availability could take 12 months 

50 Covid deaths in Cork since outbreak; city GP believes vaccine availability could take 12 months 
A member of the public wearing a face mask leaving a store in Cork.Picture Denis Minihane.

FIFTY people in Cork who have contracted Covid-19 since the beginning of the outbreak have died it has been revealed as hopes rise for a vaccine.

New figures published by the Central Statistics Office (CSO) show that up to July 17, 1,497 Covid-19 related deaths had been reported nationally, with a further 256 deaths cited as probable deaths linked to the virus.

Fifty Covid-19 related deaths were reported in Cork up to that date.

The median age of those who died was 83 years.

The figures show a total of 1,560 cases of Covid-19 had been reported from Cork, with the median age of cases at 46 years.

Cork now accounts for around six percent of all cases reported nationally and, while it has reported the second-highest number of Covid-19 cases for any county, official figures show it has the sixth-lowest cumulative incidence rate of confirmed cases per 100,000 population.

Cork GP Dr Nick Flynn said that Cork has done “relatively well” during the outbreak, something which he attributed in part to “good public health advice, good luck and poor infrastructure.”

UK trials to develop a vaccine are to be expanded and have been described as "promising".

Dr Flynn believes it will be at least nine to 12 months before it is likely that a vaccine would be available, and in enough supply, for it to reach the Irish public widely.

Last night, the National Public Health Emergency Team (NPHET) confirmed that 20 more cases of Covid-19 have been reported in Ireland.

Dr Nick Flynn.
Dr Nick Flynn.

Dr Flynn says that while Cork has kept Covid cases low during the outbreak, he remains cautious as the autumn approaches.

He said doctors have been extremely busy over the past few months as the pandemic took hold and that they remain so as they catch up with appointments and undertake check-ups with older and more vulnerable patients.

The GP said that the autumn and winter will bring challenges, with ’flu and Covid as well as the usual winter bugs and illnesses circulating.

“I have no idea how we are going to safely administer the ’flu vaccination in the autumn; usually you could have up to 30 people sitting in a waiting room, but we can’t do that,” said Dr Flynn.

GPs are likely to be administering the vaccine to larger numbers of people this year after the programme was expanded to include children aged between two and 12 years and all individuals in the HSE-defined at-risk groups.

Dr Flynn said GP practices are looking at ways to deliver the vaccine, including potentially having to administer it to patients in their cars.

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