A University College Cork (UCC) lecturer has warned that fully vaccinated people need to remain vigilant until the majority of Ireland’s population will be fully vaccinated.
Special lecturer in advanced therapies at UCC's School of Pharmacy, Dr Piotr Kowalski, said that although both the AstraZeneca and Pfizer vaccines have shown to be effective against preventing hospitalisation and the symptomatic disease caused by the Delta variant, people need to remain vigilant.
He said that those who are not fully vaccinated, in particular, need to be careful as they are more vulnerable to infection by new variants.
Unvaccinated people and those after one dose need to be especially careful as they will be more vulnerable to the infection by new variants such as the Delta variant.
"Fully vaccinated people can relax the restrictions but should remain vigilant,” he said.
Dr Kowalski said that the reopening of the country needs to be “structured and closely monitored” and that people cannot afford to let their guard down too soon.
“With the progressing vaccination rollout, we can afford to relax the restriction but the reopening needs to be structured and closely monitored. People have been very patient and need to remain patient and careful for a bit longer.
Vaccinated with one dose should assume they are still vulnerable, especially to new variants, and continue to follow the same restrictions and protective measures as non vaccinated until receiving a second dose.
His comments come as public health officials consider a recommendation against non-essential travel to the North due to the rise in Delta variant cases there.
According to Chief Medical Officer, Dr Tony Holohan, NPHET “may well have to give consideration” to advising against essential travel to Northern Ireland.
He said that while NPHET has not formally given this advice, it is “keeping a very close eye” on the threat posed by variant cases in the North.
Meanwhile, Chair of the NPHET Irish Epidemiological Modelling Advisory Group, Professor Philip Nolan, said that all indicators of the disease are improving nationally.
He said that if the country can continue to weigh public health measures with vaccine uptake and continue to keep new variants, including the Delta variant, at bay that the risk profile of Covid-19 in Ireland will alter for the better.