According to the latest figures, the rollout of the Covid-19 vaccine to children aged five to 11 has created a huge urban-rural divide.
The highest intake was at Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown in Dublin at 53 per cent, followed by Blackrock at 48 per cent and Glencullen-Sandyford at 48 per cent.
By comparison, only 4 per cent of children in Buncrana, Co Donegal, 5 per cent in Carndonagh in the north of the county and 6 per cent in Belmullet, Co Mayo receive the jab.
Nationwide, 23.9 percent of children were vaccinated because parents were slow to get them vaccinated. Offtakes in other areas include 23 in Sligo-Drumcliffe, 21 in Ennis, 25 in Limerick City, 6 in Belmullet, 9 in Ballinamore, Leitrim, 19 in Tralee and 21 in Ennis.
The vaccine has been available for more than six months, starting with children who were medically vulnerable.
In the week of July 3-9 there were 530 cases of Covid in children aged five to 12, eight of whom were hospitalised.
According to the HSE: “Although serious illness from Covid-19 is rare in this age group, they are even less likely to become seriously ill with Covid-19 if they are vaccinated.
“It’s also especially important for children and young people living with someone who is vulnerable to the effects of Covid-19.”
The latest Irish figures from the Central Statistics Office (CSO) come as the European Medicines Agency (EMA) said it is currently considering an application to extend the use of the Moderna vaccine in children aged six months to five years.
A spokeswoman said: “The assessment started on May 10th. If our Committee for Medicinal Products for Human Use has an opinion, we will let you know.”
It comes amid further signs the summer Covid wave is slowing in Ireland, with a drop in hospital admissions.
There were 888 Covid patients in hospital as of Saturday, compared with more than 1,000 earlier in the week.
Of those, 39 were in intensive care, compared to 46 on Wednesday.
Meanwhile, since March, around 21 probable cases of children with hepatitis of unknown origin have been identified in Ireland and a small number of children are being screened. All probable cases involve children under the age of 12, and 20 of the 21 cases were hospitalized.
One child died early and two had liver transplants, but the children affected have since recovered.
As of July 8, about 35 countries in five World Health Organization regions have reported 1,010 probable cases.
Adenovirus continues to be the most commonly identified causative agent among cases.
This was demonstrated by PCR in 52 percent of the cases with available results. In Japan, adenovirus was detected in 9 percent of cases with known results.
Covid has been detected in a number of cases but data on serological results is limited. The cause of these hepatitis cases is still under investigation.
The European Center for Disease Control said it was working closely with the countries involved, WHO and other relevant stakeholders on the investigation.
The current leading hypothesis is that a cofactor affecting young children with an adenovirus infection that would normally be mild triggers a more severe infection or immune-mediated liver damage.
Other areas are still under investigation and have not been ruled out, but are considered less plausible.
It said the disease was rare and evidence of human-to-human transmission was unclear; Cases in the EU are almost exclusively sporadic.
https://www.independent.ie/irish-news/health/urban-rural-divide-in-the-uptake-of-covid-19-jab-for-children-41847146.html Urban-rural divide in child Covid-19 immunization uptake