Questions remain around December 11th vaccine plan
- We need to know the number of vaccines available
- Who will get the vaccine first and in what order and how it will be stored?
- The IT infrastructure behind the distribution
- The Public heath campaign that will be put in place
Speaking at Leaders Questions, Labour Leader and Health Spokesperson, Alan Kelly said several questions need to be answered around the national Covid-19 vaccination strategy and implementation plan that will be ready for consideration by the Government in nine days’ time on December the 11th.
Deputy Kelly said:
“Taoiseach yesterday I raised the issue of the requirement to have a Minister who would oversee the rollout of vaccinations and in fairness to you. You did say you would consider that issue. And I hope you do so by the end of this week, I believe, fundamentally now. We need one.
“I’m concerned that the high-level task force has only met twice, and I don’t believe the taskforce should be meeting like that. I believe it should sit permanently. This is the biggest emergency we’ve ever faced. And will do in our lifetime. So the rollout of the vaccine, and how it’s going to be done, needs to have a national standing group with a Minister in charge.
“On the plan that’s going to be announced on December 11 I don’t expect you to have all the answers in relation to what is going to be announced. But I do want you to confirm that the following areas will be covered:
“The vaccine procurement process, storage, the order in which people will get it. The rules around how it will be administered, the rules around how society will open. You look at a situation whereby various companies and organisations are advertising; Longitude is being advertised in July for 120’000 people now. So, if somebody goes up to it, without the vaccine, will they be allowed in or not? Also, the public health campaign, and the issue, which is very important to me, the IT system that will deal with this. The only unique identification code for citizens in this country is your PPS number, we need to have a database that will be interrogatable in relation to who gets the vaccine and who doesn’t get the vaccine with reference to underlying illnesses, age and everything else.
“We need to get this right. We need a standing group that’s going to be able to deal with this and communicate regularly and deal with all the issues. For instance, if private companies come along and say they want to vaccinate all their staff are they going to be allowed to do so. Can people buy the vaccine privately themselves, all of these questions need to be addressed.
Deputy Kelly continued:
“There are a number of key questions that the Taoiseach needs to address in order to ensure that the vaccine rollout programme works. This is the most important thing that we will do in the next year and we must get it right. I should not have to ask these questions at Leaders Questions, this information should be regularly communicated by the taskforce which needs to sit permanently as a standing group.