A Cork professor has said that people need to work with the vaccination programme in a bid to ‘finish off’ the Covid-19 virus, and said he won’t be availing of indoor dining despite its resumption tomorrow.
Dean of public health at University College Cork, Professor Ivan Perry, said the best way to defeat Covid-19 is to obey the rules and remain very cautious.
“I can see a way out for Ireland, but we have to be very cautious. We are still in the thick of this worldwide. Obeying the rules and getting everyone vaccinated is the way out. Our best strategy is to work with the vaccination programme. If we let the vaccine do all the heavy lifting we will be at risk of variants. We should get the numbers down and use the vaccine to finish it off,” Prof Perry, who is also a member of the Independent Scientific Advocacy Group, said.
He said he believes people have forgotten how easily the virus spreads: “The vaccine is great but we still have to maintain all the other measures. While the virus is circulating in the community we will have to assume that in any setting we go into there will be people unvaccinated or vulnerable.
"I think we are at the stage where people are so fatigued with the whole thing that some people are saying they will do ‘their thing’ but if everyone does that it has implications for other people,” he said.
There has been an increase recently in Covid cases nationwide, with many Cork GPs reporting an rise in people presenting with symptoms. Prof Perry believes the vaccine rollout will have to extend to children to reach herd immunity.
“The Moderna vaccine has now been approved by European Medicines Agency for teens aged 12 to 17 years old. There is ongoing research on vaccinating children under the age of 12. I expect we will be vaccinating children in the not-too-distant future. We still have only half the total population of Ireland vaccinated. There is still potential for a very significant epidemic. We are seeing that in the rising numbers in recent weeks. People who get the vaccine can very easily transmit it.
“The vaccine offers substantial but not complete protection against ICU and death but it offers much less protection against getting the virus and transmitting it to somebody. If you have a circulating virus in a population that is partially vaccinated you are almost daring the virus to mutate,” he said.
The professor also said he won’t be availing of indoor dining which reopens tomorrow. “I won’t be availing of the opportunities for indoor dining as we are not ready for that.”