Over 600k avail of flu vaccines as Covid cases dip

Meanwhile, the Department has purchased 15,000 monkeypox vaccines.

LAST UPDATE | Oct 25th 2022, 8:37 PM

THE HSE’S LAUNCH of the seasonal flu vaccine programme at the beginning of this month has already led to over 600,000 vaccinations according to the Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly.

Donnelly, as well as Chief Nursing Officer, Rachel Kenna and the Chief Medical Officer, Professor Breda Smyth encouraged the public to get vaccinated as they received their flu vaccines today.

In the CMO’s weekly report to Donnelly from Friday, Smyth noted that the number of confirmed flu cases in the country was stable at 60, while 28 cases were hospitalised with influenza in the week ending 16 October.

The report comes a week after Britain’s NHS began setting up what it called “war rooms” to cope with the stress that flu cases and Covid-19 are expected to put on the healthcare system in “one of the toughest winters in its history”.

Reacting to the flu vaccination figures, Donnelly said:

“I warmly welcome the positive uptake of flu vaccine we have seen since the HSE launched the programme earlier this month.”

“We know that vaccines offer good protection from both Covid-19 and seasonal flu, and I urge everyone eligible to avail of this opportunity as soon as possible. The vaccine is also available free of charge to healthcare workers.”

Prof Smyth’s report to Donnelly noted that Covid-19 case numbers were relatively stable during this month, and fell slightly from the previous weeks.

A total of 2,132 confirmed PCR cases were reported in the 7 days to 18 October, a 6% decrease from the week before while 4,068 positive antigen test results were reported in the same period.

The report noted:

“The COVID-19 burden on acute hospital care remains significant. Following a previous rise, the trend in terms of total number of hospitalised Covid-19 cases has not continued to increase over recent days but continues to be monitored.”

There were 16 confirmed cases in critical care as of 21 October compared with 14 a week before.

As of 18 October, there were 8,010 Covid-19 related deaths reported in Ireland since the outset of the pandemic.

20 Covid-19 related deaths occurred in the first 17 days of October, while there were a total of 52 Covid-19 outbreaks notified in the week from 9 October to 15 October.

There were 18 new nursing home and 1 new community hospital/long-stay unit outbreaks and 12 new outbreaks reported in a residential institution setting (9 in centres for disabilities, 2 in centres for asylum seekers/refugees and 1 in ‘other’).

There were 18 new acute hospital outbreaks and 3 in ‘other healthcare settings’ (all in services for people with disabilities).

Mask wearing is advised on public transport and in healthcare settings, according to current public health advise.

Mask wearing is also advised based on individual risk assessment. Anyone who wishes to wear a mask should not be discouraged from doing so.

Elsewhere, Donnelly announced the ourchase of 15,000 additional monkeypox vaccines.

A deal has been reached with Bavarian Nordic for the supply.

Under the terms of the agreement with the manufacturer, 5,000 vaccines will be delivered this year, with the remaining 10,000 doses due to be delivered next year.

Individuals are asked to self-identify their risk of infection and where they deem it appropriate, book a vaccine appointment.

Demand for the vaccine has been described by the Department as “high” and all currently available vaccine appointments have now been booked.

A significant number of additional appointments will open for booking next month. 

Minister Donnelly has encouraged those who haven’t yet had the opportunity, to book an appointment in the coming weeks when they become available.

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