FAMILY carers in Clare have been completely neglected by the lack of priority in the national vaccination programme, a local councillor has claimed.
While patients aged 16 to 69 with serious underlying health conditions have been moved up the national vaccination priority list from category seven to category four, Councillor Ann Norton said general practitioners have not been directed by the HSE to make this change.
“It is farcical what the HSE have done putting people into different groups and are then changing their minds. We don’t know whether we are coming or going.
“The HSE are completely undermining the work family carers are doing. We are being left to one side because we are looking after a family member and there is no appreciation there whatsoever.”
Councillor Norton outlined that her own daughter, Nicole, has severe disabilities including Cerebral Palsy and needs a vaccine against Covid-19, but her general practitioner isn’t in a position to provide a definite timeline when she will be vaccinated.
“I am Nicole’s full-time carer and we are at home all of the time. Nicole has a personal assistant who has been given her first vaccine but Nicole or I haven’t been vaccinated.
“It shouldn’t be a case of comparing one type of carer with another one. We are doing the same job to provide top quality care for a person who needs care.”
The Covid-19 Vaccine Allocation Strategy sets out a provisional list of groups for vaccination. The Strategy was developed by the National Immunisation Advisory Committee (NIAC) and my Department, endorsed by the National Public Health Emergency Team (NPHET), and approved by Government last December.
The Independent Councillor would be surprised if more than 80% of the population is fully vaccinated by June.
“Doctors haven’t even started vaccinating the over 70s yet. There is a recruitment ad on social media looking for people to do vaccinations. People are getting frustrated because we don’t know how long we will remain in lockdown and there is nothing to look forward to.
With vaccinations well underway in the United Kingdom, she suggested senior NHS personnel might come to Ireland and show us how vaccination could be completed quicker.
The Disability Federation of Ireland (DFI) has outlined six out of every ten people who died of Covid-19 in the United Kingdom between last November and January were people with disabilities.
Despite making up just 17% of the study population, the Covid-19 death rate for people with disabilities aged 18-34 was 30 times higher than the rate for people in the same age group without disabilities, according to figures from Public Health England from last November.
Deputy Cathal Crowe asked Health Minister Donnelly recently when family carers will be vaccinated against Covid-19.
The Covid-19 Vaccine Allocation Strategy was developed by the National Immunisation Advisory Committee (NIAC) and my Department, endorsed by the National Public Health Emergency Team (NPHET), and approved by Government last December.
The priority is to first vaccinate and protect directly the most vulnerable amongst us, that is, those most likely to have a poor outcome if they contract the virus.
Minister Donnelly stated family carers are a diverse group, therefore, each individual will be vaccinated in the group that is appropriate to them.
– Dan Danaher