Up to 890,000 without a booster if a new Covid variant arrives

Up to 890,000 people are yet to receive a Covid-19 booster shot as health authorities here monitor the arrival of a new variant, it emerged yesterday.

Figures obtained from the Irish Independent show the slowdown in vaccine uptake with around 890,000 people over the age of 12 who could receive a booster vaccine who have not yet taken the vaccine.

Around 103,000 are ineligible because they have had a Covid-19 infection in the past three months. That gap is six months for 12-15 year olds, the HSE confirmed.

It is because the XE variant, a hybrid of the Omicron BA.1 and BA.2 strains, is circulating in Ireland at low levels.

Trinity College immunologist Professor Luke O’Neill said he believed Covid-19 vaccines would offer good protection against serious diseases from the variant, but said more needed to be known about it.

It is a hybrid of BA.1 and BA.2 Omicron strains. It’s more contagious but not more severe, he said.

It comes as the current wave here increasingly looks like it’s retreating, with a drop in daily cases and a drop in the PCR test positivity rate to below 19 per cent yesterday – from nearly 50 per cent at the end of March. But with 15,000 infections over the Easter holidays, there is still a lot of virus circulating.

Although the overall trend is downward, the number of Covid-19 patients in hospital rose slightly to 750 yesterday, but the number in intensive care fell to 44.

A new Irish study presented today at the European Congress of Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases in Lisbon, Portugal, shows that despite Ireland’s high vaccination rates, unvaccinated people continue to contract Covid-19 significantly and contribute disproportionately to hospital and intensive care admissions.

The study, led by Galway University Hospital’s Department of Infectious Diseases, looked at 176 patients who tested positive for Covid-19 and were hospitalized between June and November 2021.

About 76 of the patients had not received a Covid-19 vaccine.

Compared to vaccinated patients, unvaccinated patients tended to be younger, more male, and required respiratory support.

The study states that around 62.1 percent were unvaccinated. Unvaccinated subjects were 3.7 times more likely to be admitted to the ICU.

Significantly more unvaccinated patients also required invasive ventilation. There was no significant difference in mortality between vaccinated and unvaccinated subjects.

The hospital’s Department of Intensive Care Medicine and Respiratory Medicine was also involved in the study.

It confirms HSE claims that unvaccinated people are disproportionately represented among Covid-19 hospitalized patients.

HSE figures show that 95.1 per cent of people over the age of 18 are now fully vaccinated, although only 73.4 per cent have received a booster shot.

About 76.8 percent of 12- to 17-year-olds are fully vaccinated, with 20.7 percent boosted.

About 22.1 percent of five to eleven year olds have received two vaccinations.

Meanwhile, the HSE said it was working on plans to introduce a second booster “safely and in a timely manner” for people aged 65 and over and for those with weakened immune systems.

https://www.independent.ie/irish-news/health/up-to-890000-with-no-booster-as-new-covid-variant-arrives-41568167.html Up to 890,000 without a booster if a new Covid variant arrives

Fry Electronics Team

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