IRELAND'S deputy chief medical officer has attributed the decline in the spread of Covid-19 to people’s “enormous efforts” to adhere to Covid-19 guidelines.
Dr Ronan Glynn said the reduction in the incidence of the virus was thanks to people keeping themselves and their families safe rather than the rollout of the vaccination programme.
His comments come as one more death linked to the virus and another 269 cases were confirmed by the Department of Health on Sunday.
Of the cases notified on Sunday, 70% were in people under the age of 45.
On Sunday morning there were 181 people with Covid-19 in hospital, including 47 in intensive care.
There were six additional hospital admissions in the past 24 hours.
“We have already seen the fantastic impact of vaccination amongst our healthcare workers and in our nursing homes,” Dr Glynn said.
“If we can keep incidence relatively low over the coming weeks, vaccination will increasingly play a role in suppressing this virus.
“This will make it easier for all of us to balance the risks associated with Covid-19 while gradually easing public health measures.” Meanwhile the Taoiseach has said more than 100,000 people aged between 65 and 69 have registered through the Government’s online portal to receive a Covid-19 vaccination.
The registration process for people in this age cohort began on Thursday with those aged 69 able to register.
Over the weekend those aged 68, 67 and 66 were able to sign up.
On Monday people aged 65 will be able to log on to register for the vaccine and the first appointments for those aged between 65 and 69 are set to begin.
The HSE wants everyone over the age of 60 to have received their first dose of a vaccine by the end of May.
We have already seen the fantastic impact of vaccination amongst our healthcare workers & in our nursing homes. However, the declining #COVID19 incidence across all age groups recently cannot be attributed to vaccination but rather to the enormous efforts of people across society— Dr Ronan Glynn (@ronan_glynn) April 18, 2021
It comes as the Health Minister ruled out a change to the vaccination programme to inoculate people under 30 once the over-60s have been vaccinated.
Stephen Donnelly told Newtalk’s On The Record with Gavan Reilly that there is no plan to alter the age-based rollout as it stands, despite reports to the contrary.
The Irish Times reported on Saturday that Mr Donnelly had instructed his department “to assess the case for vaccinating younger cohorts earlier, on the basis of reducing overall transmission as quickly as possible”.
But Mr Donnelly insisted on Sunday that “nothing is being thrown out the window” and there is “no plan” and there was “no proposal” to prioritise people under 30 for the vaccine over older age cohorts.
“All I was doing was checking in with the Deputy CMO to see where we are with the transmission data, he said it isn’t there, and that’s it,” he told the programme on Sunday.
Progress continues on the COVID-19 vaccination programme.— Stephen Donnelly (@DonnellyStephen) April 18, 2021
Another day with over 32,000 doses administered and probably this week will be our biggest yet. pic.twitter.com/bVEoCaYBgQ
Mr Donnelly added that his department, NIAC and Nphet were “constantly probing” all aspects related to the vaccine programme, around sequencing, vaccine centres and public health measures.
“But on this specific issue, there was no plan, there is no forecast, nothing was being floated,” the minister said.
“I was simply asked, ‘Is this something you have looked into’, and I said, ‘Yeah it is’, I’d looked for an update and the update is ‘no, this is not something that would be supported by the data’.” Opposition parties have accused Mr Donnelly of causing further confusion about the vaccination programme after it was overhauled just over a fortnight ago to an age-based system.
To date a total of 1,188,354 doses of coronavirus vaccines have been administered in Ireland.
According to the official figures, as of April 16, some 838,644 people have received their first dose, while 349,710 people have received their second dose.