New long term strategy needed to address Covid-19 Pandemic

03 December 2021

– Recruitment effort for vaccinators and swabbers needed

With new restrictions planned to tackle the very high number of Covid-19 cases, Labour Health spokesperson Duncan Smith said a comprehensive new strategy is needed to bring us through the winter and protect our health service.

Deputy Smith said:

“Today in the Dáil the Minister for Health confirmed that staff shortages are impacting on our PCR testing capacity, and ability to quickly roll out the third dose of vaccines. I would urge the Minister to issue a national recruitment ‘call to action’ for skilled workers who can support these critical tasks. We need to suppress the virus, and boost people’s immune response.

“Overall though what we need now is a fundamental reset, and a new long term strategy to address the Covid-19 pandemic. This virus is not going away, and the latest variant will test our health services further.

“The new restrictions announced have many people very frustrated, worried, and anxious about what happens next because despite having one of the highest vaccination rates in the world, we still can’t live our lives as we once did.

“A new national effort is needed to bring down numbers in the coming weeks. We can’t keep acting as though the latest wave will be our last.

“We need to ensure our frontline hospitals and their exhausted staff are supported, and resourced for the coming weeks. There is no silver bullet, but simple measures like HEPA air filters, and subsidised antigen tests have a part to play.

“Financial supports must be put in place for those businesses and workers that will be hit by the new rules. There must be a bespoke payment modelled on the PUP for those workers that will lose hours and jobs in the weeks before Christmas such as hospitality workers, those in the Arts and taxi drivers.

“Critically, the government must refocus on controlling and suppressing Covid-19, because they are quickly losing public confidence.”

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