Supply lines for antigen tests are 'not elastic' amid massive demand, says Paul Reid

When asked about the portal to register positive antigen test results on the HSE system, Mr Reid said that the entire system for testing and tracing was “very complex”.
Supply lines for antigen tests are 'not elastic' amid massive demand, says Paul Reid

Vivienne Clarke

The director general of the HSE has warned that supply lines for antigen tests are “not elastic”, but there are sufficient supplies for the remainder of January and into February.

Speaking on RTÉ radio’s Today with Claire Byrne show, Mr Reid said that in October, 20,000 antigen tests were being sent out per week by the HSE, According to Mr Reid, that was now up to 350,000 per week with 60,000 being sent per day to people who were symptomatic or close contacts.

There was “massive worldwide demand” for antigen tests, there was a problem with supply lines in all countries, he said.

The public was using antigen tests “very effectively” and had taken the lead in “utilising them appropriately”, Mr Reid explained.

When asked about the portal to register positive antigen test results on the HSE system, Mr Reid said that the entire system for testing and tracing was “very complex” and to modify it to include antigen test results was taking time, and he hoped it would be ready by the end of next week, if not sooner.

How that information was utilised would be decided by Nphet, he added. The HSE was relying on the modelling from Nphet in its planning for rising figures, but it did not feel “like we're at the peak yet”.

Mr Reid pointed out that cases of Covid-19 have risen 140 per cent in a 14-day period. Currently, of the staff out of work due to Covid-19, 25 per cent are nurses.

High risk children

According to the HSE chief, the issue with high risk children not getting appointments for their vaccination had been addressed, and he apologised for the delay.

Children’s hospitals had commenced vaccinating some of these children in December and then the portal to register had opened on December 28th at which stage the remaining high risk children had been grouped with those not at risk, he explained.

Mr Reid said that had since been rectified with specific lists being drawn up of high risk children and appointments were being made.

He also said he was happy with the pace at which children were being registered for the vaccine, to date 73,000 of the 480,000 eligible had registered.

According to Mr Reid, he wanted the campaign for children to roll out in a calm manner, he said he fully respected parental concerns and wanted them to avail of all the information available.

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