Eamon Ryan: Not possible to completely 'seal Ireland off' from the virus

When asked about the possibility of further restrictions, Mr Ryan said that with Covid-19 it was not possible to rule out anything
Eamon Ryan: Not possible to completely 'seal Ireland off' from the virus

Vivienne Clarke

The head of the Health Regulatory Products Authority (HPRA), Dr Lorraine Nolan has said that Covid vaccines were among the safest ever made because they had been tested so rigorously.

The rollout of the vaccine programme in Ireland had been done on the basis of the best evidence available, and that continued to be the case, she told RTÉ radio’s News at One. It was still too early to say how effective the booster campaign would be against the new Omicron variant.

While the potency of the vaccine did wane after three to four months it was “not a cliff edge” and was a gradual process, she explained.

A third dose could be effective against Omicron, but it was still too early to say. “We still have a lot to learn”.

The key thing was to be prepared, she said.

The vaccine for children had been manufactured under the strictest of safety protocols and was highly effective, added Dr Nolan.

On the same programme Minister for the Environment, Climate and Communications, Eamon Ryan said that the Government’s policy on Covid-19 had always been to “follow the science” as part of a wider European response.

A full scientific analysis of the Omicron variant would not be available for another week or two, he said and in the meantime the health authorities in Europe and Ireland would monitor its progress.

The basic message was that boosters needed to be given while basic measures such as ventilation and social distancing were observed.

The situation with regard to travel, especially between the UK and Ireland, would continue to be reviewed, he said. But it was not feasible to “completely seal off” Ireland from the virus, a position which was supported by the European Centre for Disease Control and the WHO.

When asked about the possibility of further restrictions, Mr Ryan said that with Covid-19 it was not possible to rule out anything. All that the Government could do was “follow the science.”

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