Digital Desk Staff
There is every reason to be optimistic if “nearly all” those over 18 years of age are vaccinated against Covid by August, says professor of immunology at Trinity College, Kingston Mills.
As The Irish Times reports, he said there was “a lot of pessimism in some quarters” about dealing with Covid-19 variants such as the Delta variant.
“I am more optimistic because I think that the vaccines are doing a great job,” he said.
The comments from Professor Mills come as the Department of Health reported a further 576 cases of Covid-19 on Sunday. The number of patients being treated in hospital is 58, with 16 in ICU.
Professor Mills said “especially if we get this extra one million doses from Romania of the Pfizer vaccine, I think that could put us in a very good position by the end of August, where we would have nearly everybody in the adult population over 18 vaccinated.”
He said while “the numbers have crept up slightly” the work of the vaccine was to halt the spread of the virus in the community “and it is doing that.”
“So I would be optimistic that hospitalisation won’t increase, and I think undoubtedly we will see more cases and the numbers are creeping up, a significant number of those are mild or even asymptomatic cases”.
“If we manage to get everybody [over 18 years of age] vaccinated, and then we start on the younger, under 18 cohort, I think we can be back to normal”.
He said the “good news” was that the makers of the vaccines were already testing or ready to test new versions of the vaccines that are designed specifically to protect against the Delta variant.
But Professor Mills said Ireland still needs to take measure to limit the transmission of the virus and the “elephant in the room” was the serving staff in indoor dining rooms, who were very often young people.
Speaking on Newstalk’s On the Record with Gavin Reilly, professor Mills said the country still needs to “do as much as we possibly can to reduce the transmission as much as possible and that is a combination of vaccination and other measures that minimise the chances of people passing the infection on to others."