Simon Harris "surprised" by lack of booster programme for healthcare workers 1 month ago

Simon Harris "surprised" by lack of booster programme for healthcare workers

"A country could be doing well today, and may not be doing so well in two weeks time."

Former Minister for Health Simon Harris has said he was surprised by the absence of a plan to provide booster vaccines to healthcare workers.

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In an interview with Pat Kenny on Newstalk on Wednesday morning (20 October), the current Minister for Higher Education was invited to speak on his thoughts on the current plan for the easing of restrictions due to take place this week.

While the government has put plans together to provide booster vaccines for those over the age of 60 in November, no plan has yet been put in place to provide boosters for those working in healthcare.

A listener posed the question to Minster Harris, with specific concerns over potentially waning efficacy of AstraZeneca vaccines that were provided for the first few cohorts, including immunocompromised people and people with other serious diseases.

"It surprises me that we don’t have a positive recommendation in relation to a booster programme for healthcare workers, it genuinely does", replied Minister Harris.

"But I know that we have been very well-served by our vaccination programme, and in general by taking medical and clinical advice in relation to things such as vaccinations which is effectively a form of medication."

Harris also spoke of the uncertainty within the government and from medical professionals as to why case numbers continue to rise rapidly, despite a high vaccination rate in the country.

When pressed on the topic, Minister Harris said that "the jury is still out" on finding a cause for the current rate of infection, and that the situation was dynamic in nature.

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"Two or three weeks ago,  very prominent members of NPHET, in good faith, were on the airwaves saying that we had almost suppressed Covid, so things are changing very rapidly in any country.

"A country could be doing well today, and may not be doing so well in two weeks time."

Featured Image via Leah Farrell / RollingNews