‘Ridiculous and stupid’ for excess vaccines in Northern Ireland to not be given to the Republic, says Luke O’Neill

Professor Luke O’Neill has said it would be “ridiculous and stupid” if there were excess vaccines in North not supplied to the republic i...

Professor Luke O’Neill has said it would be “ridiculous and stupid” if there were excess vaccines in North not supplied to the republic in a bid to stamp out Covid-19 on the island of Ireland.

rof O’Neill was speaking after Northern Ireland First Minister Arlene Foster urged more cooperation on cross border vaccine sharing.

The immunologist agreed with Minister Foster, while speaking on RTÉ Radio earlier.

“Go for it, no pride here, take whatever is going. If there are spare vaccines in the North, it is ridiculous if it wouldn’t be given in the South. It’s just stupid. I’d have no hesitation, if anybody offers us a vaccine we should take it.

“The UK is killing us; they’ve vaccinated 36 people per 100 now and it’s incredible. The EU is only at 10,” Prof O’Neill said.

Over 664,000 vaccines have been administered in the North, which has seen infection rates fall to 64 cases per 100,000 people.

Prof O’Neill said it was a “cock-up” from Astrazeneca that led to one of their two European plants in the Netherlands not receiving authorisation to produce the vaccine for Europe. He said “the word is” that the shelves are lined with vaccines in this plant and once Astrazeneca provides all the requisite documentation to the EU, it should “clear the logjam”.

Prof O’Neill said Ireland should be in a far better position when people with medical vulnerabilities and older people are protected from the virus. This will have a huge effect on the number of hospitalisations and deaths, Prof O’Neill said, meaning case numbers won’t be as important a metric as it is now.

“We don’t report the number of people dying from the flu. Once we get over this phase, case numbers won’t need to be reported. They will still be there but they won’t be a concern as they won’t be translating into hospitalisations and severity. The vaccines break that chain.

“The data from Israel continues to amaze; the efficacy in their population. There’s good evidence these vaccines are working gangbusters so the two key milestones are to protect the vulnerable and then protect the elderly. Herd immunity will take months and months so let’s not worry about that, let’s just get vulnerable people and older groups protected as quickly as we can.”

Prof O’Neill says he doesn’t think the recent uptick in cases is down to the return to school for many children and said all the data is showing that “schools are doing really well”.

“It is just a bit more mingling is what’s happening,” Prof O’Neill said.

The immunologist said what Ireland needs to look out for is if the slight increase in cases were to translate into a rise in cases once again.

“We have to hope that’s not the case,” he said.

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Newsrust - US Top News: ‘Ridiculous and stupid’ for excess vaccines in Northern Ireland to not be given to the Republic, says Luke O’Neill
‘Ridiculous and stupid’ for excess vaccines in Northern Ireland to not be given to the Republic, says Luke O’Neill
Newsrust - US Top News
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