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 Header Item Written Answers Nos. 770-797
 Header Item Health Services Staff
 Header Item Health Services Staff
 Header Item Covid-19 Pandemic
 Header Item National Public Health Emergency Team
 Header Item National Public Health Emergency Team
 Header Item Drugs Payment Scheme
 Header Item Health Services Staff
 Header Item Mental Health Services
 Header Item Vaccination Programme
 Header Item Vaccination Programme
 Header Item Vaccination Programme
 Header Item Vaccination Programme
 Header Item Vaccination Programme
 Header Item Health Services
 Header Item Covid-19 Pandemic
 Header Item Covid-19 Pandemic
 Header Item HSE Staff
 Header Item Vaccination Programme
 Header Item Covid-19 Pandemic
 Header Item Primary Care Centres
 Header Item Medical Cards
 Header Item Vaccination Programme
 Header Item Vaccination Programme
 Header Item Vaccination Programme

Wednesday, 3 March 2021

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 1004 No. 7
Unrevised

First Page Previous Page Page of 112 Next Page Last Page

Written Answers Nos. 770-797

Health Services Staff

 770. Deputy Duncan Smith Information on Duncan Smith Zoom on Duncan Smith asked the Minister for Health Information on Stephen Donnelly Zoom on Stephen Donnelly the number of speech and language therapists and administrative staff and the grades of each that have been reallocated from CHO9 since March 2020; the measures under way to mitigate delays for children who require speech and language assessment and intervention in tabular form; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [11201/21]

Minister for Health (Deputy Stephen Donnelly): Information on Stephen Donnelly Zoom on Stephen Donnelly As this is a service matter, I have asked the Health Service Executive to respond to the deputy directly, as soon as possible.

Health Services Staff

 771. Deputy Duncan Smith Information on Duncan Smith Zoom on Duncan Smith asked the Minister for Health Information on Stephen Donnelly Zoom on Stephen Donnelly the number of staff in each grade under each separate subdivision in CHO9 dealing with speech and language on a full-time basis; the number of vacant posts; the number of reallocated posts in tabular form; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [11202/21]

Minister for Health (Deputy Stephen Donnelly): Information on Stephen Donnelly Zoom on Stephen Donnelly As this is a service matter, I have asked the Health Service Executive to respond to the deputy directly, as soon as possible.

Covid-19 Pandemic

 772. Deputy Peadar Tóibín Information on Peadar Tóibín Zoom on Peadar Tóibín asked the Minister for Health Information on Stephen Donnelly Zoom on Stephen Donnelly the number and the proportion of Covid-19 transmissions that occurred according to research in churches; and the reason he decided to go beyond all other European countries in terms of church closures. [11231/21]

 909. Deputy Michael Fitzmaurice Information on Michael Fitzmaurice Zoom on Michael Fitzmaurice asked the Minister for Health Information on Stephen Donnelly Zoom on Stephen Donnelly the reason churches have not been allowed to reopen for public worship in the same week that schools are allowed to reopen given that no case of Covid-19 has been linked to church attendance and given each church has previously succeeded in practising social distancing and following all guidelines in place. [11767/21]

 910. Deputy Sorca Clarke Information on Sorca Clarke Zoom on Sorca Clarke asked the Minister for Health Information on Stephen Donnelly Zoom on Stephen Donnelly if he has engaged in dialogue with the religious groups on the possibility of opening up places of worship on a restricted basis. [11769/21]

 911. Deputy Sorca Clarke Information on Sorca Clarke Zoom on Sorca Clarke asked the Minister for Health Information on Stephen Donnelly Zoom on Stephen Donnelly the risk assessments with regard to restricted public religious worship that has been conducted; and the risks associated with opening churches and other religious institutions. [11770/21]

Minister for Health (Deputy Stephen Donnelly): Information on Stephen Donnelly Zoom on Stephen Donnelly I propose to take Questions Nos. 772, 909 to 911, inclusive, together.

As the Deputies are aware, the public health restrictions at level 5 of the Government's Framework Resilience and Recovery 2020-2021: Plan for Living with Covid-19 will remain in place until 5 April 2021, when a further review will be conducted. The Framework continues to provide an appropriate mechanism to guide decision-making, and it will continue to be supplemented by more detailed sectoral guidance in relation to measures that apply at each level of the Framework.

  On 23 February, the Government published Covid-19 Resilience & Recovery 2021: The Path Ahead which sets out how in-school education and childcare services will be reinstated in a phased manner from 1 March, with staggered return throughout March to be concluded after the Easter break on 12 April. Information on the revised plan is available here – https://www.gov.ie/en/publication/c4876-covid-19-resilience-and-recovery-2021-the-path-ahead/?referrer=http://www.gov.ie/ThePathAhead/

  The public health measures recognise the need to reduce congregation and interactions between people to reduce the transmission of Covid-19. The number of people allowed to gather in different scenarios in the plan is based on a review of international practice and the judgment of public health experts. It seeks to balance the risks of different types of gatherings against the desire to allow normal activities to proceed in so far as possible. The measures in place for each level reflect the prevailing disease situation and recognise that we can and must prioritise some activities over others.

  At level 5, all non-essential retail, and all non-essential services must remain closed. Information in relation to the current public health measures in place for essential retail and essential services at level 5 is available at https://www.gov.ie/en/publication/2dc71-level-5/ and https://www.gov.ie/en/publication/c9158-essential-services/. Funeral, burial and related services are listed as essential under 'Administrative and Support Activities'.

  The Health Act 1947 (Section 31A - Temporary Restrictions) (Covid-19) (NO. 10) Regulations 2020 Regulation (S.I. 701 of 2020), sets out the relevant businesses or services under the current public health measures. Statutory Instruments related to the Covid-19 pandemic are available here: https://www.gov.ie/en/collection/1f150-view-statutory-instruments-related-to-the-covid-19-pandemic/

  The Deputies may wish to note that, on 18 February, the Taoiseach met with representatives of the Catholic Church to discuss the current level of Covid-19 restrictions and the Church’s desire to return to worship, in particular during the season of Lent and with the approach of Holy Week and Easter. The Taoiseach acknowledged the importance of the Church community in people’s lives at this time of stress and worry. He outlined the ongoing concerns regarding the spread of the virus, particularly the new variants, stressing that any increase at all in mobility can have serious consequences for public health and put pressure on the health service. The Taoiseach said consideration would be given to the concerns raised at the meeting, and it was agreed that a dialogue would be maintained as the situation evolves.

National Public Health Emergency Team

 773. Deputy Michael Ring Information on Michael Ring Zoom on Michael Ring asked the Minister for Health Information on Stephen Donnelly Zoom on Stephen Donnelly the reason for the delay in putting up the minutes of NPHET meetings on the www.gov.ie website; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [11233/21]

Minister for Health (Deputy Stephen Donnelly): Information on Stephen Donnelly Zoom on Stephen Donnelly  The Covid-19 NPHET is supported by a dedicated Secretariat that works diligently to prepare high-quality minutes for publication as quickly as practicable.

  Given the significance of NPHET meetings and the importance of its work in the context of the State’s ongoing response to the Covid-19 pandemic, it is imperative that a full and accurate account of each NPHET meeting is maintained. NPHET agendas cover a wide range of very complex and technical public health issues and NPHET discussions are by their nature, lengthy, fast-paced, and multifaceted.

  To ensure factual accuracy and representation of discussions, the NPHET secretariat’s minute-taking process involves a number of procedural steps in line with best practice. This drafting process takes time and cannot be dispensed with in the interest of ensuring quality and accuracy.

  The Deputy may wish to note the NPHET minutes are published up to 21st January 2021 at the address below. The minutes of 28 January will be published on 2 March. It is also envisaged that the minutes of the 4 and 11 February will be published 5 March. Additional minutes will then published weekly on a rolling schedule.

  https://www.gov.ie/en/collection/691330-national-public-health-emergency-team-covid-19-coronavirus/

National Public Health Emergency Team

 774. Deputy Michael Ring Information on Michael Ring Zoom on Michael Ring asked the Minister for Health Information on Stephen Donnelly Zoom on Stephen Donnelly further to Parliamentary Question No. 946 of 24 November 2020, if his Department will adopt more robust minute provision services to replace the phrases mentioned in the response (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [11235/21]

Minister for Health (Deputy Stephen Donnelly): Information on Stephen Donnelly Zoom on Stephen Donnelly As previously advised, the minute-taking process for Covid-19 NPHET meetings is robust.

  The NPHET is supported by a dedicated Secretariat that works diligently to prepare high-quality minutes for publication as quickly as practicable.

  Given the significance of NPHET meetings and the importance of its work in the context of the State’s ongoing response to the Covid-19 pandemic, it is imperative that a full and accurate account of each NPHET meeting is maintained. NPHET agendas cover a wide range of very complex and technical public health issues and NPHET discussions are by their nature, lengthy, fast-paced, and multifaceted.   

  To ensure factual accuracy and representation of discussions, the NPHET Secretariat’s minute-taking process involves a number of procedural steps in line with best practice. This drafting process takes time and cannot be dispensed with in the interest of ensuring quality and accuracy.

  The Deputy may wish to note the NPHET minutes are published up to 21 January at the address below. The minutes of 28 January will be published on 2 March. It is also envisaged that the minutes of 4 and 11 February will be published 5 March. Additional minutes will then published weekly on a rolling schedule.

  https://www.gov.ie/en/collection/691330-national-public-health-emergency-team-covid-19-coronavirus/

Drugs Payment Scheme

 775. Deputy David Cullinane Information on David Cullinane Zoom on David Cullinane asked the Minister for Health Information on Stephen Donnelly Zoom on Stephen Donnelly the reason the drug semaglutide (details supplied) was removed from the list of drugs included in the drugs repayment scheme; if he will consider including it in the drugs repayment scheme; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [11236/21]

Minister for Health (Deputy Stephen Donnelly): Information on Stephen Donnelly Zoom on Stephen Donnelly As this is a service matter, I have asked the Health Service Executive to respond to the Deputy directly, as soon as possible.

Health Services Staff

 776. Deputy Catherine Murphy Information on Catherine Murphy Zoom on Catherine Murphy asked the Minister for Health Information on Stephen Donnelly Zoom on Stephen Donnelly the number of staffing posts accredited to CAMHS in County Kildare; the nature of the posts, both full and part-time; the types or roles; and the number that are currently filled and unfilled. [11242/21]

Minister of State at the Department of Health (Deputy Mary Butler): Information on Mary Butler Zoom on Mary Butler As this is a service matter I have asked the Health Service Executive to respond directly to the Deputy as soon as possible.

Mental Health Services

 777. Deputy Catherine Murphy Information on Catherine Murphy Zoom on Catherine Murphy asked the Minister for Health Information on Stephen Donnelly Zoom on Stephen Donnelly the status of the proposed development of the mental health inpatient service attached to Naas Regional Hospital, Lakeview campus. [11243/21]

Minister of State at the Department of Health (Deputy Mary Butler): Information on Mary Butler Zoom on Mary Butler As this is a service matter I have asked the Health Service Executive to respond directly to the Deputy as soon as possible.

Vaccination Programme

 778. Deputy Joe Flaherty Information on Joe  Flaherty Zoom on Joe  Flaherty asked the Minister for Health Information on Stephen Donnelly Zoom on Stephen Donnelly when he plans to resume the school immunisation programme in particular the HPV vaccine which is best administered to persons before they are 15 years of age. [11245/21]

 781. Deputy Joe Flaherty Information on Joe  Flaherty Zoom on Joe  Flaherty asked the Minister for Health Information on Stephen Donnelly Zoom on Stephen Donnelly if provision will be made to allow children and others who missed the HPV vaccination to opt-in for vaccination when the scheme returns to schools given that large numbers of young children have missed out on the HPV vaccination over the past year. [11248/21]

Minister for Health (Deputy Stephen Donnelly): Information on Stephen Donnelly Zoom on Stephen Donnelly I propose to take Questions Nos. 778 and 781 together.

As this is a service matter, I have asked the Health Service Executive to respond to the Deputy directly, as soon as possible.

Vaccination Programme

 779. Deputy Joe Flaherty Information on Joe  Flaherty Zoom on Joe  Flaherty asked the Minister for Health Information on Stephen Donnelly Zoom on Stephen Donnelly if the school vaccination teams now administering vaccines in nursing homes will cause a delay in the resuming of the school vaccinations once schools reopen. [11246/21]

Minister for Health (Deputy Stephen Donnelly): Information on Stephen Donnelly Zoom on Stephen Donnelly As this is a service matter, I have asked the Health Service Executive to respond to the Deputy directly, as soon as possible.

Vaccination Programme

 780. Deputy Joe Flaherty Information on Joe  Flaherty Zoom on Joe  Flaherty asked the Minister for Health Information on Stephen Donnelly Zoom on Stephen Donnelly if those students who have not yet received their second dose of the Covid-19 vaccine due to school closures in March 2020 and were unable to attend the summer catch-up clinics will be prioritised when vaccinations resume. [11247/21]

Minister for Health (Deputy Stephen Donnelly): Information on Stephen Donnelly Zoom on Stephen Donnelly As this is a service matter, I have asked the Health Service Executive to respond to the Deputy directly, as soon as possible.

  Question No. 781 answered with Question No. 778.

Vaccination Programme

 782. Deputy Fergus O'Dowd Information on Fergus O'Dowd Zoom on Fergus O'Dowd asked the Minister for Health Information on Stephen Donnelly Zoom on Stephen Donnelly if concerns raised in respect of a general practitioner practice (details supplied) in County Louth that had to cancel a vaccine clinic for patients over 85 years of age due to the non-delivery of vaccines will receive a response; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [11249/21]

Minister for Health (Deputy Stephen Donnelly): Information on Stephen Donnelly Zoom on Stephen Donnelly As this is a service matter, I have asked the Health Service Executive to respond to the deputy directly, as soon as possible.

Vaccination Programme

 783. Deputy Peadar Tóibín Information on Peadar Tóibín Zoom on Peadar Tóibín asked the Minister for Health Information on Stephen Donnelly Zoom on Stephen Donnelly if he made efforts to procure Covid-19 vaccines outside of the EU procurement process. [11250/21]

Minister for Health (Deputy Stephen Donnelly): Information on Stephen Donnelly Zoom on Stephen Donnelly Ireland is participating in a Procurement Exercise being operated by the European Commission on behalf of Member States to procure suitable, safe and effective vaccines, in sufficient quantities, to combat Covid-19.

Six APAs have been negotiated by the Commission under this process to date. Ireland has opted-in to five APAs to secure vaccine supplies: BioNTech/Pfizer, Moderna, AstraZeneca, Janssen/J&J and CureVac. Government approval has been obtained to opt-into the sixth APA (GSK/Sanofi Pasteur), subject to the outcome of clinical trial results.

Ireland has signalled its solidarity with the EU approach and has, through its participation, gained access to a broad range of vaccines that it might not otherwise have access to, and at the cost agreed collectively by the EU.

Health Services

 784. Deputy James Browne Information on James Browne Zoom on James Browne asked the Minister for Health Information on Stephen Donnelly Zoom on Stephen Donnelly the position regarding the diagnosis and subsequent treatment of Lyme disease here; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [11259/21]

Minister for Health (Deputy Stephen Donnelly): Information on Stephen Donnelly Zoom on Stephen Donnelly As this is a service matter, I have asked the Health Service Executive to respond to the deputy directly, as soon as possible.

Covid-19 Pandemic

 785. Deputy Cian O'Callaghan Information on Cian O'Callaghan Zoom on Cian O'Callaghan asked the Minister for Health Information on Stephen Donnelly Zoom on Stephen Donnelly if he has considered allowing a special exemption to restrictions in lower levels of the National Framework for Living with COVID-19 similar to that in Scotland to adults in relationships who do not live together; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [11266/21]

Minister for Health (Deputy Stephen Donnelly): Information on Stephen Donnelly Zoom on Stephen Donnelly As you will be aware, the public health restrictions at level 5 of the Government's Framework Resilience and Recovery 2020-2021: Plan for Living with Covid-19 will remain in place until 5th April 2021, when a further review will be conducted. The framework continues to provide an appropriate mechanism to guide decision-making, and it will continue to be supplemented by more detailed sectoral guidance in relation to measures that apply at each level of the framework.

  On 23 February, the Government published Covid-19 Resilience & Recovery 2021: The Path Ahead which sets out how in-school education and childcare services will be reinstated in a phased manner from 1 March, with staggered return throughout March to be concluded after the Easter break on 12 April. Information on the revised plan is available here: https://www.gov.ie/en/publication/c4876-covid-19-resilience-and-recovery-2021-the-path-ahead/?referrer=http://www.gov.ie/ThePathAhead/

   At Level 5, people are asked to stay at home as much as possible unless they have a "reasonable excuse" for leaving.

  The Regulations providing for these measures are set out in S.I. No. 701 of 2020 and S.I. 29 of 2021. Regulation 4. of SI 701 sets out a non-exhaustive list of reasonable excuses for leaving one’s home. This non-exhaustive list includes at 4. (2) (w) in the case of a person who is part of a paired household, to travel to an event in a dwelling in accordance with Regulation 5.

  Regulation 6. of SI 701 of 2020 sets out the meaning for paired households. Further clarification on support bubbles (paired households) is provided on gov.ie:- https://www.gov.ie/en/publication/3516d-support-bubbles/

  Statutory Instruments relating to the Covid-19 pandemic are available here:https://www.gov.ie/en/collection/1f150-view-statutory-instruments-related-to-the-covid-19-pandemic/

Covid-19 Pandemic

 786. Deputy Robert Troy Information on Robert Troy Zoom on Robert Troy asked the Minister for Health Information on Stephen Donnelly Zoom on Stephen Donnelly if cleaning companies engaged in certain locations (details supplied) can work in level 5 restrictions. [11275/21]

Minister for Health (Deputy Stephen Donnelly): Information on Stephen Donnelly Zoom on Stephen Donnelly As you will be aware, the public health restrictions at level 5 of the Government's Framework Resilience and Recovery 2020-2021: Plan for Living with Covid-19 will remain in place until 5 April 2021, when a further review will be conducted. The Framework continues to provide an appropriate mechanism to guide decision-making, and it will continue to be supplemented by more detailed sectoral guidance in relation to measures that apply at each level of the Framework.

  On 23 February, 2021, the Government published Covid-19 Resilience & Recovery 2021: The Path Ahead which sets out how in-school education and childcare services will be reinstated in a phased manner from 1 March, with staggered return throughout March to be concluded after the Easter break on 12 April. Information on the revised plan is available here – https://www.gov.ie/en/publication/c4876-covid-19-resilience-and-recovery-2021-the-path-ahead/?referrer=http://www.gov.ie/ThePathAhead/

  Cleaning companies are permitted to continue to work in Level 5 where such services are necessary to support any other essential service, this includes the cleaning of buildings and industrial cleaning activities (see: https://www.gov.ie/en/publication/c9158-essential-services/ Administrative and Support Services).

  Regulations (SI 701) make provision for the continuation of these services (see Paragraph 13 of Schedule of Essential Services). Statutory Instruments related to the Covid-19 pandemic are available online: https://www.gov.ie/en/collection/1f150-view-statutory-instruments-related-to-the-covid-19-pandemic/ 

HSE Staff

 787. Deputy Robert Troy Information on Robert Troy Zoom on Robert Troy asked the Minister for Health Information on Stephen Donnelly Zoom on Stephen Donnelly the reason the HSE has not granted an increment to staff of a service (details supplied). [11278/21]

 912. Deputy Sorca Clarke Information on Sorca Clarke Zoom on Sorca Clarke asked the Minister for Health Information on Stephen Donnelly Zoom on Stephen Donnelly if the staff of a service (details supplied) will receive backpay or compensation for the stoppage of incremental pay increases since 2012 which they were contractually entitled to. [11777/21]

Minister for Health (Deputy Stephen Donnelly): Information on Stephen Donnelly Zoom on Stephen Donnelly I propose to take Questions Nos. 787 and 912 together.

Under section 39 of the Health Act 2004, the HSE provides financial assistance to organisations to provide services similar or supplementary to a service that the HSE may provide. Staff in these organisations are not public servants and were not subject to the provisions of FEMPI legislation. They did not automatically receive the cuts that were applied to the pay of public servants. These employees differ to those employed by organisations who provide services under section 38 of the Act who are public servants and are therefore paid in line with the Department of Health consolidated salary scales.

As we are aware, an agreement was reached by the parties in October 2018, in relation to a process of pay restoration for staff employed by the 50 pilot agencies. Pay restoration commenced in April 2019 with an annual pay increase of up to €1,000. Any outstanding balance would be paid in two equal amounts in 2020 and 2021, if due.

I can confirm that St Christopher's services were included in this pilot group and are in receipt of the appropriate funding in accordance with this agreement.

  Question No. 788 answered with Question No. 709.

  Question No. 789 answered with Question No. 754.

Vaccination Programme

 790. Deputy Bríd Smith Information on Bríd Smith Zoom on Bríd Smith asked the Minister for Health Information on Stephen Donnelly Zoom on Stephen Donnelly if he will consider reprioritising persons with disabilities living in care homes in the Covid-19 vaccination schedule; if he will acknowledge that this vulnerable cohort often do not have a voice and often have very complex illnesses and needs which make them much more likely to succumb to the virus; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [11298/21]

 806. Deputy Catherine Connolly Information on Catherine Connolly Zoom on Catherine Connolly asked the Minister for Health Information on Stephen Donnelly Zoom on Stephen Donnelly his plans to prioritise persons with intellectual disabilities in residential care in the roll-out of the Covid-19 vaccination programme; the reason this cohort has not been prioritised to date given that persons with disabilities have been disproportionately affected by the pandemic; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [11342/21]

 831. Deputy Richard Boyd Barrett Information on Richard Boyd Barrett Zoom on Richard Boyd Barrett asked the Minister for Health Information on Stephen Donnelly Zoom on Stephen Donnelly if he plans for persons with disabilities living in residential care settings many of whom have underlying health conditions associated with their particular syndromes to be vaccinated sooner than other persons in their age groups; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [11425/21]

 856. Deputy Patrick Costello Information on Patrick Costello Zoom on Patrick Costello asked the Minister for Health Information on Stephen Donnelly Zoom on Stephen Donnelly if persons with disabilities will be prioritised on the Covid-19 vaccination list; the progress of vaccinations for persons with disabilities; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [11541/21]

Minister for Health (Deputy Stephen Donnelly): Information on Stephen Donnelly Zoom on Stephen Donnelly I propose to take Questions Nos. 790, 806, 831 and 856 together.

  The Covid-19 Vaccine Allocation Strategy sets out a provisional list of groups for vaccination. The strategy was developed by the National Immunisation Advisory Committee (NIAC) and my Department, endorsed by the National Public Health Emergency Team (NPHET), and approved by Government on 8 December 2020.

   Vaccine allocation is a matter for my Department and further information is available here: https://www.gov.ie/en/publication/39038-provisional-vaccine-allocation-groups/.

   The rollout of the Covid-19 vaccination programme is the responsibility of the HSE.

   The aim of the Covid-19 vaccination programme is to ensure, over time, that vaccine will become available to vaccinate all of those for whom the vaccine is indicated. Given that there will be initially limited vaccines available, it will take some time for all to receive those vaccines and that has necessitated an allocation strategy to ensure that those most at risk of death and serious illness receive the vaccine first.

  The priority is to first vaccinate and protect directly the most vulnerable amongst us, that is, those most likely to have a poor outcome if they contract the virus. The priority is to directly use vaccines to save lives and reduce serious illness, hence the focus on the over 65 year old cohort in long term residential care facilities, and healthcare workers in frontline services often caring for the most vulnerable.

  The next group to be vaccinated are those aged 70 years and older in the following order: 85 years and older, 80-84, 75-79, and 70-74 years. Vaccination of this group began in February.

On 23 February, I announced an update to Ireland’s Covid-19 Vaccine Allocation Strategy.

  In comprising the initial Vaccine Allocation Strategy, the NIAC listed several conditions associated with increased risk of severe disease and death. In the intervening period, national and international evidence has become available which has enabled a more detailed analysis of underlying conditions that may increase the risk of developing severe disease or death.

  The NIAC has now been able to more comprehensively identify those medical conditions and to distinguish between those which place a person at very high or high risk of severe disease if they contract the virus. Medical conditions and the magnitude of the risk they pose will continue to be monitored and periodically reviewed.

  The NIAC continues to monitor data around this disease and indeed emerging data on effectiveness of vaccines on a rolling basis.

  Further details are available at the following link:

  https://www.gov.ie/en/press-release/b44b2-minister-donnelly-announces-update-to-vaccine-allocation-strategy/

Covid-19 Pandemic

 791. Deputy Seán Crowe Information on Seán Crowe Zoom on Seán Crowe asked the Minister for Health Information on Stephen Donnelly Zoom on Stephen Donnelly if any incoming international travellers have to date been housed in hotels or other rented accommodation at a cost to the State. [11300/21]

Minister for Health (Deputy Stephen Donnelly): Information on Stephen Donnelly Zoom on Stephen Donnelly SI No. 44/2021 requires passengers arriving from overseas, with limited exemptions, to complete 14 days home quarantine at the address provided on their Covid-19 Passenger Locator form.

The Health Amendment Bill, which gives effect to the Government Decision on mandatory quarantine at designated facilities, has been prioritised. The operationalisation of designated quarantine facilities is being advanced on a cross-departmental basis as a matter of priority.

Primary Care Centres

 792. Deputy Emer Higgins Information on Emer Higgins Zoom on Emer Higgins asked the Minister for Health Information on Stephen Donnelly Zoom on Stephen Donnelly the timeline for approval on the planned primary care centre in Citywest, Saggart, County Dublin. [11304/21]

Minister for Health (Deputy Stephen Donnelly): Information on Stephen Donnelly Zoom on Stephen Donnelly As the HSE has responsibility for the provision, along with the maintenance and operation of Primary Care Centres and other Primary Care facilities, the Executive has been asked to reply directly to the Deputy.

Medical Cards

 793. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan Information on Bernard J. Durkan Zoom on Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Health Information on Stephen Donnelly Zoom on Stephen Donnelly if an application for a medical card already refused will be revisited as a matter of urgency on foot of information in the case of a person (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [11305/21]

Minister for Health (Deputy Stephen Donnelly): Information on Stephen Donnelly Zoom on Stephen Donnelly As this is a service matter, I have asked the Health Service Executive to respond to the Deputy directly, as soon as possible.

Vaccination Programme

 794. Deputy Pa Daly Information on Pa Daly Zoom on Pa Daly asked the Minister for Health Information on Stephen Donnelly Zoom on Stephen Donnelly further to Parliamentary Question No. 818 of 3 February 2021, the estimated population size of each of the provisional vaccine allocation groups by county in tabular form. [11306/21]

Minister for Health (Deputy Stephen Donnelly): Information on Stephen Donnelly Zoom on Stephen Donnelly The Covid-19 Vaccine Allocation Strategy sets out a provisional list of groups for vaccination. The Strategy was developed by the National Immunisation Advisory Committee (NIAC) and my Department, endorsed by the National Public Health Emergency Team (NPHET), and approved by Government on 8 December 2020.

  Vaccine allocation is a matter for my Department and further information is available here: https://www.gov.ie/en/publication/39038-provisional-vaccine-allocation-groups/.

  The rollout of the Covid-19 vaccination programme is the responsibility of the HSE.

  The aim of the Covid-19 vaccination programme is to ensure, over time, that vaccine will become available to vaccinate all of those for whom the vaccine is indicated. Given that there will be initially limited vaccines available, it will take some time for all to receive those vaccines and that has necessitated an allocation strategy to ensure that those most at risk of death and serious illness receive the vaccine first.

  The priority is to first vaccinate and protect directly the most vulnerable amongst us, that is, those most likely to have a poor outcome if they contract the virus. The priority is to directly use vaccines to save lives and reduce serious illness, hence the focus on the over 65 year old cohort in long term residential care facilities, and healthcare workers in frontline services often caring for the most vulnerable.

  On 23 February, I announced an update to Ireland’s Covid-19 Vaccine Allocation Strategy.

  In comprising the initial Vaccine Allocation Strategy, the NIAC listed several conditions associated with increased risk of severe disease and death. In the intervening period, national and international evidence has become available which has enabled a more detailed analysis of underlying conditions that may increase the risk of developing severe disease or death.

  The NIAC has now been able to more comprehensively identify those medical conditions and to distinguish between those which place a person at very high or high risk of severe disease if they contract the virus. Medical conditions and the magnitude of the risk they pose will continue to be monitored and periodically reviewed.

  The NIAC continues to monitor data around this disease and indeed emerging data on effectiveness of vaccines on a rolling basis.

  Rollout of the Covid-19 vaccination programme is currently underway. The next group to be vaccinated are those aged 70 years and older in the following order: 85 years and older, 80-84 years, 75-79, and 70-74 years. Vaccination of this group began in February.

  Work is continuing on the stratification of subsequent groups and assessing the number of people encompassed in each group.

Vaccination Programme

 795. Deputy Paul McAuliffe Information on Paul  McAuliffe Zoom on Paul  McAuliffe asked the Minister for Health Information on Stephen Donnelly Zoom on Stephen Donnelly if there is a procedure in relation to non-Covid-19 patients over the age of 70 being vaccinated before they enter hospital; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [11309/21]

Minister for Health (Deputy Stephen Donnelly): Information on Stephen Donnelly Zoom on Stephen Donnelly As this is a service matter, I have asked the Health Service Executive to respond to the deputy directly, as soon as possible.

Vaccination Programme

 796. Deputy Emer Higgins Information on Emer Higgins Zoom on Emer Higgins asked the Minister for Health Information on Stephen Donnelly Zoom on Stephen Donnelly if those with Addison’s disease will be prioritised for Covid-19 vaccination given their underlying health condition; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [11312/21]

 905. Deputy Mark Ward Information on Mark Ward Zoom on Mark Ward asked the Minister for Health Information on Stephen Donnelly Zoom on Stephen Donnelly if persons with multiple sclerosis will receive priority in the vaccine roll-out. [11751/21]

Minister for Health (Deputy Stephen Donnelly): Information on Stephen Donnelly Zoom on Stephen Donnelly I propose to take Questions Nos. 796 and 905 together.

  The Covid-19 Vaccine Allocation Strategy sets out a provisional list of groups for vaccination. The Strategy was developed by the National Immunisation Advisory Committee (NIAC) and my Department, endorsed by the National Public Health Emergency Team (NPHET), and approved by Government on 8 December 2020.

   Vaccine allocation is a matter for my Department and further information is available here: https://www.gov.ie/en/publication/39038-provisional-vaccine-allocation-groups/.

   The rollout of the Covid-19 vaccination programme is the responsibility of the HSE.

   The aim of the Covid-19 vaccination programme is to ensure, over time, that vaccine will become available to vaccinate all of those for whom the vaccine is indicated. Given that there will be initially limited vaccines available, it will take some time for all to receive those vaccines and that has necessitated an allocation strategy to ensure that those most at risk of death and serious illness receive the vaccine first.

  The priority is to first vaccinate and protect directly the most vulnerable amongst us, that is, those most likely to have a poor outcome if they contract the virus. The priority is to directly use vaccines to save lives and reduce serious illness, hence the focus on the over 65 year old cohort in long term residential care facilities, and healthcare workers in frontline services often caring for the most vulnerable.

  The next group to be vaccinated are those aged 70 years and older in the following order: 85 years and older, 80-84 years, 75-79, and 70-74 years. Vaccination of this group began in February.

On 23 February, I announced an update to Ireland’s Covid-19 Vaccine Allocation Strategy.

   In comprising the initial Vaccine Allocation Strategy, the NIAC listed several conditions associated with increased risk of severe disease and death. In the intervening period, national and international evidence has become available which has enabled a more detailed analysis of underlying conditions that may increase the risk of developing severe disease or death.

  The NIAC has now been able to more comprehensively identify those medical conditions and to distinguish between those which place a person at very high or high risk of severe disease if they contract the virus. Medical conditions and the magnitude of the risk they pose will continue to be monitored and periodically reviewed.

  The NIAC continues to monitor data around this disease and indeed emerging data on effectiveness of vaccines on a rolling basis.

  Further details are available at the following link:

  https://www.gov.ie/en/press-release/b44b2-minister-donnelly-announces-update-to-vaccine-allocation-strategy/

  Question No. 797 answered with Question No. 748.


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