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90% of Clare vaccinated against Covid, but booster uptake is low

NO part of Clare has less than 89% of its population vaccinated, according to the Central Statistics Office, but the level of people who have taken boosters is far lower.

West Clare has the highest level of vaccination in the county, with more than 95.8% of people aged 12 or over there having taken it.

The Ennistymon, Killaloe and Ennis Municipal Districts all had vaccination rates of between 93.6 and 94.7%.

The Shannon Municipal District had the lowest level of vaccination in Clare, with approximately 90% of people there vaccinated.

Of those who got fully vaccinated in the Ennistymon Municipal District, 69% went on to get boosted also. The Kilrush Municipal District is just behind at 68%, in Ennis and Killaloe the figure is 66%, while in the Shannon Municipal District it is 65%.

All this shows that over one third of Clare people have not taken boosters, for one reason or another.

Across the country in 90% of Municipal Districts the vaccination rate is greater than 83.9% of the population aged over 12. Booster rates across the country range from 52-75%.

Parents also have the option of getting children aged between 5 and 11 vaccinated, but there has been quite a low uptake. In Clare the highest level is in Killaloe where between 18.1 and 20.4% of this age group have been vaccinated, while it is lowest in the Ennistymon Municipal District, where it is between 8.5 and 10.8%.

Earlier this month the National Immunisation Advisory Committee recommended that a second booster be taken by all aged 65 or older, while it also recommended that younger people who are immunocompromised also take it.

At the time Health Minister Stephen Donnelly stressed the importance of taking the vaccination, while he said the extra booster may be extended to younger people.

“Covid-19 vaccines have achieved extraordinary success in preventing severe disease, hospitalisation and death. These vaccines continue to have a very good safety profile with hundreds of millions of doses administered globally.

“Those who are unvaccinated or incompletely vaccinated continue to be disproportionately affected and account for approximately a third of hospitalisations for Covid-19. As such, I urge anyone for whom an additional dose of vaccine has been recommended, or anyone yet to receive their primary course or booster vaccine do so as soon as possible.

“I have asked the NIAC to continue to actively examine the evidence regarding the likely benefit of a second booster to other groups, vaccine choice and interval in order to make further recommendations in this regard.”

The latest figures on Covid infection rates in the county show that there were 480 cases confirmed by PCR tests in Clare in the 14 days up until Monday, April 25. There were only 17 cases recorded on Monday itself, which could reflect the fact that the level of infection has become less prevalent once again, but people who test positive on antigen tests now may not actually go forward for PCR tests.

The most recent figures also show that there have been close to 39,000 confirmed cases of Covid-19 in Clare since the pandemic began, from a population of 118,817.

In the 14 days up until April 18, the Ennis area saw the most Covid in Clare, with 229 cases. Even taking into account its larger population, Ennis also had the highest proportionate level of the illness in Clare.

The Shannon Municipal District, which has an almost identical population size, had 179 cases. The Killaloe Municipal District had 106 cases in the time frame, with 83 in the Ennistymon Municipal District. In the Kilrush area there were 92 cases.

About Owen Ryan

Owen Ryan has been a journalist with the Clare Champion since 2007, having previously worked for a number of other regional titles in Limerick, Galway and Cork.