“In the long term the beating of this virus will be how we manage the infections among young people and particularly in children,” a Cork GP and member of the National Public Health Emergency Team (NPHET) has said.
Dr Mary Favier, a former president of the Irish College of General Practitioners was speaking in relation to the news that the vaccine portal has opened for people aged 16 and 17 years old from today.
It is also understood that the Covid-19 vaccination programme is to be extended to include 12 to 15 year-olds.
It is believed that a recommendation that all children in this age category be included has been made to the Government by the National Immunisation Advisory Committee (NIAC).
It is expected to be approved by the Cabinet today.
These latest developments have been welcomed by Cork GP Dr Mary Favier.
“In the long term, the beating of this virus will be how we manage the infections among young people and particularly in children. It is very welcome. The biggest burden of the disease is in that age group and up to 24-year-olds. They are really important. They are part of the community and they need to be vaccinated. The sooner the better.”
The continued expansion of the vaccination programme comes as 87% of new covid cases reported yesterday were in people aged 45 and under.
Dr Favier said it is important for high-risk children to be vaccinated immediately.
“The vaccination is very important. It has been proven to be very safe.
“People have done really well. We have gotten this far because of the huge efforts people have made. There has been a really good uptake of the vaccination and it is trying to remind ourselves to keep that going. We would hope in three to four weeks time that we would be through the back of this big surge. To get there we have to keep going,” she added.
Bantry GP Dr Paul O’Sullivan also welcomed the latest developments.
“This is very welcome news. It is long overdue. It is getting to the stage now where we need to get everybody vaccinated. The more the merrier. Internationally the people who are becoming unwell now are the people who are not vaccinated.
“I am all in favour of them opening up the portal and if they can extend it further it would be very welcome as there is so much mixing,” he added.
Dr O’Sullivan said the summer holidays present the ideal time to get young people vaccinated before they return to school for the new academic year.
“It would be a concern that people of that age group could be on holidays before returning to school. The summer holidays and in early September is a great time to get everybody vaccinated. I didn’t think we would get this far when we were in the depths of winter when the really bad wave hit us. It is all good news.”