Dr Ray Walley, National Covid-19 GP Liaison Committee and Covid 19 adviser to the IMO, ICGP and HSE at Dr Steevens’ Hospital for the weekly HSE operational update. Leon Farrell/RN
dr ray walley

GPs report patients 'dropping their guard' amid reports of some becoming symptomatic for second time

HSE CEO Paul Reid said the positivity rate among close contacts is a “cause for concern”.

GPS ARE SEEING an increase in the number of patients contracting Covid-19 for a second time, according to Dr Ray Walley, member of the National Covid-19 GP Liaison Committee. 

At the HSE’s weekly operational update at Dr Steevens’ Hospital this afternoon, Dr Walley said people are starting to become complacent, including those who have received the first dose of the vaccine. 

“We’re at this year now and what GPS are noting is they’re starting to get patients who are actually becoming symptomatic for the second time around,” Dr Walley said. 

“And it’s very important to emphasise – people have become complacent and they’ve become tired – all the simple messages in regards to keeping your distance wearing a mask etc.”

Walley noted that many people who have received their first vaccine, some of them healthcare workers, have dropped their guard:

“I’m aware of a few people who’ve gotten in a car with elderly people and they had no masks in the car because they received the first vaccine. And as a result of that, they became symptomatic.”

He emphasised that the vaccine is not a cure-all but part of the attack on the virus. 

“It’s very important that people who have been vaccinated, maintain, all the same protections… It doesn’t allow you to go and visit your elderly relation or bring them in the car,” Dr Walley said. 

Walley also noted that GPs are reporting a greater number of people presenting with mental health issues, with children making up a large percentage. 

His comments come after HSE chief Paul Reid said admissions to hospital for Covid-19 have fallen by 25% in the last week, but that patients are sicker and requiring longer stays in hospital. 

According to Reid, this shows the impact of the “higher transmission of B117 variant” – which accounts for 90% of cases in Ireland. 

Reid said 68% of last week’s Covid-19 cases were close contacts of confirmed cases, which he said was a “cause of concern” and warned, “this could quickly turn again”.


The rollout of the vaccination to those aged over 85 started this week, with 66 people in that cohort receiving their first dose on Monday. The HSE has said over 4,000 of the 85+ age group were vaccinated up to close of business yesterday.

The AstraZeneca vaccine is likely to be used for the 65-69 age cohort when the vaccine rollout moves into that fifth phase.

Dr Walley said he expects 350 GP practices to be vaccinating over 85s next week, increasing to 500 the following week, before ultimately rising to 900. 

When asked about the possibility of 24-hour vaccination centres, Reid said all rollout projections are based on supply, something which changes frequently. For now, vaccination hubs will operate on a 12-hour basis.

He added that Ireland is on track to receive at least one million doses a month from April onwards, and that the HSE is also working on transport options for people who are not able to get to vaccination centres.

Screenshot 2021-02-18 at 18.52.44 HSE HSE

Also speaking at today’ briefing, HSE Chief Operating Officer Anne O’Connor said there were 524 outbreaks across acute and long-term residential care settings.

O’Connor said that 32% of all nursing homes have a confirmed outbreak, with the HSE supporting 243 private nursing home.

She said there are about 1,000 home support workers who are currently unavailable for work.

Your Voice
Readers Comments
This is YOUR comments community. Stay civil, stay constructive, stay on topic. Please familiarise yourself with our comments policy here before taking part.
Leave a Comment
    Submit a report
    Please help us understand how this comment violates our community guidelines.
    Thank you for the feedback
    Your feedback has been sent to our team for review.

    Leave a commentcancel