Caution urged around social gatherings as Covid infections rise again

Immunologist Professor Paul Moynagh recommended taking an antigen test before attending a gathering where there may be vulnerable people
Caution urged around social gatherings as Covid infections rise again

Vivienne Clarke

Immunologist Professor Paul Moynagh has said the public should carry out a personal risk assessment before attending social gatherings, or visiting elderly or vulnerable relatives.

GP Yvonne Williams added that different measures would be necessary if young people were gathering, compared to an event at which people would be mixing with someone who was vulnerable.

Speaking to RTÉ Radio’s Today with Claire Byrne show, Prof Moynagh suggested that if people were going to mix with elderly or vulnerable people, they should do an antigen test.

A personal risk assessment should also consider the ventilation of where they would be gathering, he added.

People would just have to live with the virus, as it was here to stay, he said, adding that having a booster vaccination would help.

On discussions whether the face masks would return, Prof Moynagh said wearing masks in public places would not be effective unless people were wearing them all the time.

There would continue to be periodic waves of the virus, he added, and the best way to combat this would be to get the vaccine and get boosted.

However, he cautioned that even the booster would not stop the spread of the virus, but it would provide protection for most people.

Speaking on the same programme, Dr Williams called for better clarification of who was entitled to the booster, as there was some confusion among patients.

She said people with low kidney function, organ transplant recipients and those undergoing chemotherapy or cancer treatment should all be boosted.

Healthcare workers were eager to get the booster vaccine, she added, and it made sense for them to receive the booster as the health service was under-serviced already.

If staff days were lost to Covid there was a "huge knock on" impact on patient care, she warned.

"Covid is here to stay, we need to be careful," she added.

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