Higher Education Minister Simon Harris said a concerted effort by political parties was needed to support the future Kovid-19 vaccine.
He was responding on Twitter to the outcome of the Mail on Sunday / Ireland Thinks poll. It is estimated that 70% of people in Ireland will be vaccinated.
We need bilateral efforts to support vaccination when the authorities approve one or more of the #covid 19s. This is not a party political point, ”said Harris, who was health minister at the beginning of the Pandemic.
“Good people from all parties, we all need to work together to get the message across. We have done this before on important issues,” he wrote on Twitter.
The planning and preparation for a Kovid-19 vaccine and how the immunization program in Ireland will work has been going on for months.
Teams from the Department of Health and the HSE are working on this, and a new top government task force has been formed.
The first meeting of the task force was held earlier this week, and by Friday, December 11, Tao Tsev is committed to providing a national immunization strategy and implementation plan.
Indications from Europe are that Pfizer and modern vaccines are at the top of the queue for approval.
It is understood that this informs the work of the task force.
Europe has extensive purchase deals with six different manufacturers, from which Ireland will benefit.
How a new vaccine for Kovid-19 is released in this country will depend on who among all the competitors gets it first.
Kingston Mills, a professor of experimental immunology at Trinity College Dublin, said: “People are talking about choosing vaccines, but we still have no choice.
“The vaccine is not yet licensed, so not all vaccines we’ve heard of may be licensed.”
The first thing we need to know is the data from the vaccine trials. Mills said. “We have not seen this. We do not know whether the regulatory agencies will approve it. That is the first step.”
Epidemiologist Professor Kareena Butler is the chair of the National Immunization Advisory Council, which advises the Department of Health on vaccines.
She said the group was closely monitoring what was being developed and was waiting for a vaccine to be approved so that recommendations could be made.
The group is already preparing in a sense, as it has realized that not everyone will get enough vaccines soon. Butler said.
Which groups need to be prioritized will depend on which vaccine is approved, what its suitability is, and how well it works.
Some groups will not be vaccinated, at least for the first time.
“There are people who have not tried this yet. No studies have been done on children yet. We have no information about the vaccine in children,” Professor Butler said, adding that children are a low-risk group so they may not have it in the first place.
Self-immunization of pregnant women is more important than self-vaccination of pregnant women.
“There is a problem with one of the vaccines that refers to the Pfizer BioNtech offer that must be kept at 70 degrees Celsius,” he said. Mills said.
“I don’t think we’ve get vaccinated before Christmas, very clearly.”
He said: “Storing the vaccine requires ultra-low freezer temperature and state-of-the-art equipment, for example in GP surgery you can’t.
“If the Pfizer vaccine is developed, I think there will be specialized clinics with these freezing devices. It needs to be done at centers dedicated to vaccination.”
The government task force, which includes representatives from various departments with expertise in health, storage and logistics, is understood to be examining all components of its network until a vaccine manufacturer is deployed.
“Ensuring that the immunization program is safe is” worrying “and will reduce the risk involved,” he said.
But they said it should be “as easy as possible” because “experience is a big factor in getting people to take the vaccine when it is offered”.
Professor Butler said: “We need to make sure that anyone who gets the vaccine understands it and knows the risks and benefits to them and their wider community.”
Before making the final decisions, her group would like to see the European Medicines Agency and other regulatory bodies review the vaccines in detail.
Experts are not sure whether the people of this country will be vaccinated before the end of 2020.
“I don’t know,” Professor Butler said, adding that it was her personal opinion that she suspected it would happen before Christmas. She said: “That would be unusual.”
Professor Mills said: “I do not think we will be vaccinated before Christmas, very clearly.”
We hope to hear within the next two weeks whether a vaccine is licensed.
If so, manufacturers are willing to go in limited quantities, but he believes it will be the New Year before more vaccines become available in Europe and Ireland.