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Holohan to the vaccinated: 'You can now get back out there and restart many things you used to do'

Dr Tony Holohan has written an open letter to those who are fully vaccinated, advising them to trust in the protection a Covid vaccine gives them.

Chief Medical Officer Dr Tony Holohan
Chief Medical Officer Dr Tony Holohan
Image: RollingNews.ie

CHIEF MEDICAL OFFICER Dr Tony Holohan has written an open letter to those who are fully vaccinated, advising them to make the most of socialising outdoors and to trust in the protection the Covid-19 vaccine they have received gives them.

Writing to thousands of people who are fully vaccinated after receiving two doses of a Covid-19 vaccine, Dr Holohan wrote that he understood they may be anxious, and advised them on how to “restart” in a safe way.

On the advice of Dr Holohan and NPHET, the Government are to ease restrictions from Monday 10 May to allow for inter-county travel; garden visits of a max of 6 people; click-and-collect retail services; hairdressers and barbers; and house property viewings.

From 10 May, a fully vaccinated person can visit up to two vaccinated households indoors, or one vaccinated household and one non-vaccinated household indoors.

“You can now get back out there and restart many things you used to do, once restrictions ease from May 10th,” Dr Holohan wrote to the fully vaccinated. “That might be visiting the seaside, a trip to a museum, a visit with a friend, or a trip to see your grandchildren at long last.

It’s important that you look out for the public health advice that is relevant to you and to plan to do it safely – but it’s important to get on and do it!

He said that he was aware that many people who have been vaccinated are those who had to cocoon, and that these people “may be anxious at the idea of re-opening your social circle”, even in a controlled way and while fully vaccinated.

Dr Holohan said:

While this anxiety is understandable, you can have confidence in your vaccine, no matter which one you received.

“And you can have confidence that the simple measures we recommend really do help to reduce your risk of picking up this disease,” Holohan wrote.

In his advice on how to manage anxiety that some people may experience, Dr Holohan said that they could plan their trip in advance: “ensure you have a mask and hand sanitiser available to you, leave yourself additional time so you can avoid crowds, practice social distancing and make your way to and from your destination safely and comfortably”.

“Risk assess your choices and your environments – if you feel uncomfortable or unsafe, feel empowered to walk away and come back another time. Encourage loved ones to feel similarly about prioritising their own safety.”

He also said that people should ease back into being active.

“For many people, the last year will not have allowed you to be as active as you were previously. This has likely negatively impacted on mobility and fitness, as well as on confidence. It is important to be aware of this and give your body time to readjust to being more active.”

‘Now is the time to move forward, to go outdoors’

Dr Holohan continued in a message to the wider public: “Now is the time to move forward, to go outdoors and to see one another again. As spring turns to summer, we should all take advantage of the bright evenings and warmer weather. Exercising outdoors is an important tool to protect our mental and physical health.

This is not a signal that the pandemic is over. We have all come a long way and things will improve further but there remains a risk that too much social mixing especially indoors, in houses and other settings will lead to a further surge of this disease.

“It is important that we keep up compliance with the restrictions and the public health advice.

“The more we do so the more we can avoid a dangerous surge in cases, which would require us to slow down the progress of easing of measures that is planned for the coming weeks and months.”

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He acknowledged the difficulty of being bereaved by Covid-19 and expressed his condolences with people who were “cruelly constrained by this disease and the restrictions it imposes on us”; the elderly and the medically vulnerable who rose to the “unprecedented challenge” of personal sacrifices by staying at home, and those who were less at risk who followed the public health advice to “a very high standard”.

“We all know the impact that living life to the full – in terms of socialising, exercise, family, work and travel – has on our physical and mental health. It is important to remember that basic individual behaviours that protect us all,” he said.

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