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'People trusted the science': Chair of vaccine taskforce explains Ireland's high vaccine uptake rate

The latest figures show that 91.7% have at least one vaccine dose, while 87.8% are fully vaccinated.

Professor Brian MacCraith.
Professor Brian MacCraith.
Image: Sam boal

THE CHAIR OF Ireland’s taskforce on Covid-19 vaccinations has said that a well-educated population, trust in the public-health advice, and good quality information is behind Ireland’s high vaccination uptake rate.

The latest figures show that 91.7% have at least one vaccine dose, while 87.8% are fully vaccinated. A total of 6.77 million doses have been administered.

It means that four out of five people over the age of 12 are fully vaccinated, he said. This pits Ireland as the EU country with the second highest Covid-19 vaccine uptake rate, behind only Malta. 

Speaking on RTÉ Radio’s Brendan O’Connor show, Professor Brian MacCraith, chair of the high-level taskforce on Covid-19 vaccination, said he had been asked a lot what was the reason behind Ireland’s high rate of vaccination.

“I think it’s an educated population, I think people trusted the science, and they trusted the public health advice.

“I think the abundance of caution that National Immunisation Advisory Committee  (NIAC) showed meant that Irish people trusted the advice so we mightn’t have like the outcome many times, but everyone knew that it was for the right purpose, so they trusted what was been said to them.”

He said that “high-quality information” that was available to people also made a difference.

He said that experts like Professor Luke O’Neill, Dr Ronan Glynn (Deputy Chief Medical Officer) and Dr Tony Holohan (Chief Medical Officer) inspired confidence in the science, while Dr Karina Butler of NIAC “influenced a lot of people with her very clear thinking”.

“Look again at 16 to 17-year-olds in recent weeks, so that’s one of the iconic images of the vaccination programme: queues and queues at 6am.”

Ireland currently has 600,000 vaccine doses in storage at the moment, Mac Craith said, with Ireland still due to get around 180,000 doses a week.

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Surveys carried out indicate that around 7% of Ireland’s population will not accept a vaccine, which Mac Craith said was “very low in European terms”.

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