1,845 new Covid cases as HSE launches campaign to encourage vaccine uptake 

1,845 new Covid cases as HSE launches campaign to encourage vaccine uptake 

The campaign comes as the HSE says it has seen a slight increase in the uptake of Covid-19 vaccinations over the past number of days.

The HSE is launching a campaign to encourage unvaccinated people to come forward for a jab as new research reveals vaccine hesitancy is “sticky”, especially among younger age cohorts.

It comes as 1,845 new cases of Covid-19 were recorded by the Department of Health on Monday. 

The department added that 497 Covid patients are hospitalised, of which 99 are in ICU.

The number of people in ICU is at the highest number since March 9.

The HSE campaign comes as the health service says it has seen a slight increase in the uptake of Covid-19 vaccinations over the past number of days.

Damien McCallion, head of the HSE's national vaccination programme, said they have seen some positive figures in recent days, noting that since Thursday, there has been an increase of between 800 to 1,000 coming forward for a vaccine per day to about 2,000 people per day.

Mr McCallion said they were running a campaign over the next 10 days to encourage those who are unvaccinated to come forward.

The campaign aims to provide people with information in relation to the Covid-19 vaccine.

There will be specific campaigns targeting groups that are particularly vulnerable, including the medically vulnerable.

According to Mr McCallion, more than 60% of those in ICU are currently unvaccinated.

"We're encouraging them to go forward and talk to their healthcare professional – be it in hospital or to their GP – who can perhaps talk them through and explain the benefits and risks of the vaccine,” he told RTÉ’s Morning Ireland.

They will also be focusing on other groups such as those who have only received one dose as well as geographical areas with a slightly lower uptake.

“There’s a lot of activity going on over the next 10 days to try and encourage that uptake.” 

The HSE is encouraging people to ensure they go to reliable sources and to talk to a healthcare professional if they have concerns in relation to the Covid-19 vaccine.

"Particularly for those vulnerable groups, it's really important for them, given that we've seen the impact in ICU and hospitals," he added.

From the HSE’s perspective, Mr McCallion said concern was also growing for those working on the frontline, with 1,800 people out due to being a close contact with symptoms of Covid-19, which is "significant" in terms of the impact on the services.

“Having said that, Niac [National Immunisation Advisory Committee] provide the advice to us, they have provided the expertise, and they've served us well through this programme,” he said.

"We know that that's being looked at intensively at the moment in terms of healthcare workers, being one of the next phases of the rollout."

From an operational perspective, the HSE is making contingency plans so when that advice comes, they can move quickly.

Research on vaccine hesitancy 

Meanwhile, research carried out by Ipsos MRBI for the Irish Pharmaceutical Healthcare Association (IPHA) has shown that vaccine hesitancy is “sticky”, with more hesitancy among younger people.

The research, which was conducted between September 30 and October 14, revealed that among 18 to 34-year-olds, 9% will refuse a Covid-19 vaccine while overall, 5% of people have said they will refuse a jab.

While 4% of people are unsure about taking a Covid-19 vaccine, among 18 to 34-year-olds, that figure is highest, at 8%.

Following the results, the research-based biopharmaceutical industry urged more vaccination in the community.

Bernard Mallee, director of Communications and Advocacy at IPHA, said vaccination is reducing serious illness, hospitalisations and deaths caused by Covid-19.

“Overall, the vaccination rate is very high. But hesitancy, although proportionately small, is still sticky, especially among some younger people.

“We urge everyone who is eligible to get vaccinated so that we can maximise protection in the community. Vaccination, alongside adherence to basic public health advice, can control the recent rise in infections.”

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