Cork mother welcomes changes to vaccine allocation strategy, but says carers need to be vaccinated sooner 

Cork mother welcomes changes to vaccine allocation strategy, but says carers need to be vaccinated sooner 

Earlier this week, the Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly TD announced the changes to Ireland’s Covid-19 Vaccine Allocation Strategy. Picture Dan Linehan

A Cork mother has welcomed the changes to the Covid-19 vaccination allocation strategy and the “passport to protection” it will provide for her son who was diagnosed with cancer in October.

Earlier this week, the Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly TD announced the changes to Ireland’s Covid-19 Vaccine Allocation Strategy.

Changes to strategy

Under the changes, those aged between 16 and 69 with medical conditions that put them at very high risk of severe disease and death will be part of Cohort 4 to receive the vaccine,  with vaccinations to begin directly after those aged over 70 in the community.

Those within the age bracket who are immunocompromised, living with chronic diseases or conditions, diabetes and those undergoing cancer treatments will be among those included in Cohort 4.

Cohort 5 will include those aged between 65 and 69 whose underlying conditions put them at a high risk of severe disease and death while Cohort 6 will include other people within the same age bracket as well as other healthcare workers and workers essential to the vaccine programme.

In announcing the changes, Minister Donnelly said that the vaccination programme is built on “fairness” and “to ensure that those with the highest risk of severe disease and death were prioritised for vaccines when supplies were limited.”

“The changes we are making are based on the latest clinical and medical advice that those we are moving up the list would suffer the worst outcomes if they were to get the disease,” he said.

Passport to protection 

Fiona Pettit O’ Leary has welcomed the changes.
Fiona Pettit O’ Leary has welcomed the changes.

Founder of Autistic Rights Together, Fiona Pettit O’Leary has welcomed the changes.

Her son, Dillon, who is autistic, was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma in October.

Since his diagnosis, 28-year-old Dillon has been undergoing chemotherapy treatment.

Ms Pettit O’ Leary said that he has been asking her for the Covid-19 vaccine.

For him, even after treatment when his treatment is over, he wants to go back to the service provider, he wants to go back to meeting his friends again and having the vaccine will give him that passport to protection.

“He wants to be able to do things again and feel that he can be protected from this virus that could potentially be fatal to someone like him- so it’s everything,” she added.

As both Ms Pettit O’Leary and her husband are full-time carers for their son, however, she said that she would like to see carers vaccinated sooner.

“It would mean everything to us, and we want it too, it’s not just enough for him to have it, we need to be protected as well.” 

She said that the family will be awaiting the call to confirm the date of Dillon’s vaccination.

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