A Cork GP has said that Ireland’s advanced purchase of Moderna’s Covid-19 vaccine is “encouraging” but warned that people should not take their foot off the pedal as the vaccine becomes available.
The Cabinet gave the green light to the Department of Health to make an advance purchase of some 875,000 doses of the Covid-19 vaccine produced by Moderna.
Health Minister Stephen Donnelly received approval during a Cabinet meeting on Tuesday to enter an advanced purchase agreement when the vaccine becomes available in the coming months.
The advanced purchase agreement with Moderna is the fifth agreement the Government has made with pharma companies, others including Pfizer and BioNTech, AstraZeneca, Janssen, and CureVac.
Dr John Sheehan of Blackpool Bridge Surgery said that it is “very encouraging that these vaccines are coming down the track” but that a dangerous period of transition will exist upon the vaccine’s distribution.
“The HSE and NPHET will have to look at who gets the vaccine first in terms of risk reduction and protecting people and the advantage of that is that once that starts rolling out, it does make it easier to get back to some level of normality.
“I do think the big danger period will be in between, that once people hear about the vaccine, they’ll take the foot off the pedal in terms of safety measures of masks, hand washing and social distancing.
"That's the danger period when transitioning because everyone will think it's all over when the reality is we’ll still be doing that next year and for most of next year and it's important to remember that,” he said.
Speaking in the Dáil, Taoiseach Micheál Martin said that it is expected the doses will be delivered early in the new year, as soon as there is approval from the European Medicines Agency, but that the arrival of a vaccine is the "moment for doubling down on vigilance and social distancing".
Dr Sheehan advised those sceptical over how effective or safe the vaccine is to “read the evidence and recommendations from trusted sources”.
“Facebook isn't a trusted source for this, you can find any theory about anything on social media and that’s the danger.
“No-one is going to approve these vaccines if they think there’s a high risk because that would expose both themselves and also the patient and would make the situation worse.
"It has been done at a faster pace because instead of things being done sequentially, they were done in parallel and people put huge amounts of efforts into doing this,” he said.