The HSE’s chief clinical officer, Dr Colm Henry has said there is a 5 per cent rate of people who have not attended their second dose vaccine appointment.
Dr Henry told RTÉ radio’s Today with Claire Byrne show that he would urge people to get their second vaccine as it offered the best protection against the virus.
“We want to complete the [vaccination] programme,” he said.
The scientific evidence was that complete vaccination was the best protection, he added. “That’s our aim.”
The first-dose uptake had been 92 per cent, he said, while to date, the uptake for the second dose was 68 per cent.
Dr Henry anticipated that the remaining people in the cohort who had not yet received their second dose would receive it by next Friday, July 16th.
Dr Henry acknowledged that the rise in the Delta variant was likely to lead to more pressure on the health system.
In response to a call from emergency medicine consultant, Dr Fergal Hickey for “alternative pathways” for people currently going to emergency departments, Dr Henry said the HSE was trying to develop “loops” of care so people did not have to go to emergency departments, but it would take time.
Vaccination offered the best protection, it was a flood wall defence, he said, but even the strongest flood wall could be breached if the water level was high enough, he added.
Dr Henry was fearful that the planning easing of restrictions in the UK later this month would have an impact on Ireland. He quoted a letter from scientists in the Lancet medical publication which described the “abrupt cessation” of restrictions as “an unethical experiment”.
“I’m very fearful for us. We share a land border with the UK,” Dr Henry said.
When asked about plans by vaccine manufacturer Pfizer to develop a booster vaccine, Dr Henry said drug companies provided updated evidence all the time, but that it was up to each country to process that information. The HSE was looking at a booster plan, he noted.