Irish Examiner view: We all have a role to play in defeating Covid

Young adults have a responsibility to stay healthy and not take undue risks by refusing to be vaccinated for no good reason
Irish Examiner view: We all have a role to play in defeating Covid

A view of the Citywest Covid-19 vaccination centre in Dublin; more than 70% of adults in the State are now fully vaccinated, with 85% partially vaccinated. Picture: Brian Lawless

As we note that a remarkable milestone has been reached in the Covid-19 vaccine programme — one that serves as a tribute to all those involved in its rollout — we must continue to take our responsibilities seriously at national, family, and personal level. 

The Government has a responsibility to aid vaccine programmes in poorer countries; parents have a duty to protect their children, and young adults have a responsibility to stay healthy and not take undue risks by refusing to be vaccinated for no good reason.

More than 70% of adults in the State are now fully vaccinated, with 85% partially vaccinated. 

Another welcome development is that some vaccination centres now allow walk-in vaccinations on certain days and times without an appointment. 

Also, the fact that booster shots are being made available to vulnerable people and frontline workers shows we’ve learned lessons from the slow initial start to the rollout.

It is worth recording that this has been achieved over a six-month period from a standing start in late December when Annie Lynch, a grandmother from Drimnagh in Dublin, became the first person in Ireland to receive a Covid-19 vaccination when she got the Pfizer jab in St James’s Hospital. 

She also became the first person to receive a second dose just two weeks later on January 13.

It is also notable that we will soon have surplus stocks of the AstraZeneca vaccine and Health Minister Stephen Donnelly has pledged that Ireland will play a significant role internationally in ensuring there is a globally just vaccination programme.

Poorer countries are relying on a vaccine-sharing arrangement, Covax, an international group that has negotiated for vaccine doses. It aims to provide two billion doses by the end of the year. 

According to a study by The New York Times, 84% of jabs have been administered in high- and upper-middle-income countries. 

Only 0.3% of doses have been administered in low-income countries. We, as a relatively wealthy nation, must play our part in helping others.

We also have an obligation to take personal responsibility for our own health and the wellbeing of those around us. 

People in Ireland are the most willing among European Union member states to take the Covid-19 vaccine. However, there is a hesitancy to do so among a minority of younger people who are now being offered vaccines. 

Almost one in 10 of 25 to 34-year-olds say they will refuse to receive the Covid-19 vaccine and 12% say they are unsure about it, according to the latest poll conducted by Ipsos MRBI. 

Instead of being bamboozled by misinformation on social media, we must hope that the vast majority of those who have so far refused the vaccine might yet change their minds.

Parents of younger children must also act responsibly for the sake of their family’s health.

While it is likely that the social media debate and anti-vaccination lobby will grow with the extension of vaccinations to children, parents should stick to legitimate information and official sources. 

They must not allow their children’s welfare to be influenced by the rantings of the mob.

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