Obese people to get vaccinated sooner as part of Ireland's new rollout strategy
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Obese people to get vaccinated sooner as part of Ireland's new rollout strategy

OBESE PEOPLE are to get vaccinated sooner as part of Ireland's new rollout strategy, it has been revealed.

As part of the Government’s new vaccine rollout strategy, obese people, as well as those aged between 16 and 69 who are at high risk of developing severe Covid-19, have been moved up the list of those receiving the Covid-19 vaccine.

The new approach, which has been controversial among patient advocate groups, has now been updated by Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly after the National Public Health Emergency Team endorsed recommendations by the National Immunisation Advisory Council.

Under the current system, over 65s living in care homes and frontline healthcare workers have already been vaccinated.

Ireland is now vaccinating people aged 70 and older, beginning with those aged 85 and older.

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In accordance with the old strategy, announced on December 8 last year, other healthcare workers would have been vaccinated next, followed by people aged 65-69, key workers, and then people aged 18-64 with certain underlying health problems.

Obese people and those with chronic illnesses are among those to be prioritised in the new Covid-19 vaccine strategy

The updated strategy, which comes into effect after all over 70s are vaccinated, will see people aged between 16 and 69 who are at high risk of developing severe Covid-19 being vaccinated next.

This demographic includes people who are obese or severely immunocompromised, people with uncontrolled diabetes, or who are undergoing certain treatments for cancer, and/or are living with certain chronic illnesses.

It also includes those with certain chronic neurological conditions, certain inherited metabolic diseases, Down Syndrome, and sickle cell disease.

Once these groups have been vaccinated, cohort 5 – people aged 65-69 with other underlying illnesses such as chronic heart disease, severe asthma, schizophrenia or bipolar disorder – will then get the jab.

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Once these cohorts are vaccinated, the Government's focus will pivot to cohort 6.

This includes everyone else aged between 65-69, non-frontline healthcare workers, and workers that are essential to the vaccination programme.

The roll-out strategy will then vaccinate people aged between 16-64 who have the same conditions as the people aged 65-69 who were vaccinated in cohort 5.

Despite these significant adjustments, Mr Donnelly said the overall aim of the strategy remains unchanged.

"We are continuing to vaccinate those who are most likely to suffer severe disease and sadly, death, as a result of contracting Covid-19," he said.

"The changes we are making are based on the latest clinical and medical advice that those we are moving up the list would suffer the worst outcomes if they were to get the disease," he added.