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More younger people are being referred to hospital with Covid-19, Reid says

The HSE chief said there is also a concern about younger people being impacted by long Covid.

HSE chief Paul Reid
HSE chief Paul Reid
Image: Leah Farrell

HSE CHIEF PAUL Reid has said more younger people are being referred to hospital with Covid-19. 

Speaking to RTÉ Radio One’s Morning Ireland, Reid said the concern is not just about hospitalisations, but also long Covid for younger people. 

“We are seeing transmission levels at a high level for the younger population. That being said, what we do know is Covid, over the past 16 months, causes the most harm to the older population,” Reid said. 

The Department of Health yesterday reported a further 994 cases of Covid-19 and reported that 80 people with the illness were in hospital yesterday, including 22 in ICU. 

“Talking to some of our lead consultants across the country, increasingly they are seeing more younger people, GPs are referring more younger people to hospital,” the HSE chief said. 

“We have many incidents where people may not have been hospitalised, but long Covid can significantly impact younger people as well,” Reid said.

“So, it’s too early to determine a trend of those 80 or so patients [in hospital], but we are seeing trends of younger people, certainly more cases and some referrals to hospitals,” he said. 

Reid added that 87% of new Covid-19 cases over the last two weeks are with people under the age of 45. Back in January, he said, 40% of cases were with people over the age of 45. 

He said “the reality of it is we now have a new vulnerable”. 

“Now the exposure we have is people who haven’t been vaccinated, so that’s the new vulnerable we are dealing with,” Reid said. 

“And the concern is two-fold. Number one, as you are not vaccinated, you are at a high level of risk,” he said. 

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“Number two, what we want to protect against is the high level of spread and transmission in the community, that then puts at risk even those who are vaccinated,” he said. 

The online booking system for Covid-19 vaccines has today opened for the 25-29 age cohort

Those registering through the portal will receive a Pfizer or Moderna mRNA vaccine.

People aged 18-34 are also currently able to register with a pharmacy to receive the one-dose Janssen vaccine, subject to supply.

The HSE is also planning to roll out an opt-in system to allow those aged 18-34 to register on its vaccine portal to receive an AstraZeneca or Janssen vaccine in a vaccination centre.

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