Minister getting vaccine delivery figures wrong – transparency needed now
- We need weekly data on how many doses we are receiving into Ireland.
- Daily Vaccination Figures must be consistently published.
- Breakdown of how many Covid-facing healthcare workers have been vaccinated must be published.
Following questions to the Minister for Health today on vaccine rollout, Labour Party Leader Alan Kelly repeated his call for full transparency on how many doses we are receiving and a breakdown of the number of doses administered. He also called for global solidarity on vaccine rollout. Without accurate and up to date figures, it is impossible to know the level of vaccination on the frontline or plan an exit strategy from the current level 5 restrictions.
Deputy Kelly said:
“The Minister for Health didn’t seem to know how many vaccine doses came into Ireland this week. In the Dáil today he was once again not able to clearly set out how many vaccine doses are being delivered into Ireland on a weekly basis, the long promised daily updates on the total number of people that have been vaccinated still isn’t happening, and no breakdown is available on how many Covid facing healthcare staff in each hospital have received the vaccine.
“The Minister told me that 48,000 Pfizer vaccine doses arrived this week, but the HSE has said that 24,570 doses arrived. We need full transparency and accuracy on how many doses of each vaccine are being delivered every week.
“Last week, the Minister committed to provide a breakdown of vaccine figures to my colleague Deputy Duncan Smith. One week on, we still have no information on the vaccination rates across the frontline. Meanwhile, we continue to hear that non-Covid workers in hospitals are receiving vaccination due to the haphazard nature of this vaccine rollout.
“This doesn’t make any sense. At a critical time for our health service, the Minister should have data outlining the number of Covid-facing frontline workers who have been vaccinated. It’s really worrying that the Minster for Health is not on top of this life saving vaccine. In addition to this, vaccination figures are not being updated daily, the most available data on this was updated last Sunday. It is impossible for the Government to develop any strategic plan to reopen our country in March without this information, which means the public should expect the usual incoherent approach – lockdown, surge, lockdown, surge.
“It is clear that there is no strategy behind the rollout of this life saving vaccine. The Minister is under severe pressure – our hospitals are at surge capacity, our frontline workers are exhausted, and there is no strategy for the roll out of the vaccine. This is why I continue to call for a dedicated Minister to manage the vaccine rollout. We need one person responsible for this task– to manage procurement, logistics, set up an IT system and the rollout itself. In 2021, it is crazy to believe that there is no IT system in place to manage the most fundamental instrument we have to fight this virus.
“The Minister told us this morning that 3% of the population has been vaccinated as of Sunday – 143,000 doses administered to date. At this rate, it’s clear that the March target of vaccinating 700,000 will now not be met, further pushing back the likelihood of life getting back to normal anytime soon. Poor Government decisions on this are affecting lives, businesses, jobs – society as a whole.”
Addressing the Tánaiste, Deputy Kelly also called for global solidarity with the rollout of the vaccine:
“When we have been at our lowest ebb as a nation in times of financial crisis and ruin, Ireland still showed the hand of friendship to countries across the world through financial and humanitarian aid. COVID is on tour. It doesn’t recognise borders. No one is protected unless everyone is.
“The People’s Vaccine Alliance, made up of organisations including Oxfam and Amnesty International estimate that wealthier nations, including Ireland, collectively have already bought enough doses to vaccinate their entire populations almost three times over by the end of 2021. To put that in context, nations that represent just 14 percent of the world’s total population now own 53 percent of the most promising vaccines.
“We wear our commitment to fulfilling the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals proudly, we are now a strong player on the global stage with a seat on the UN Security Council. It is not enough for Ireland to provide funding through our ODA budget — we must use the reach and weight of our voice as a nation to show solidarity with nations that are worse off than us and demand a more equitable access to COVID vaccines.”