STATEMENT: Costello concerned by lack of plans to vaccinate housebound under 70s

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Green Party Spokesperson for Justice and TD for Dublin South-Central, Deputy Patrick Costello, has called on the Minister for Health to implement without delay procedures to allow the vaccination of housebound under 70s. His calls come following queries made to the HSE on behalf of housebound constituents, where he learnt there are still no provisions in place to vaccinate under 70s who cannot leave their homes.

Commenting on the matter, he said: “My office has been contacted by numerous distressed constituents and their families who are still waiting to hear how they can receive their vaccination at home. These are highly vulnerable individuals suffering from varying physical ailments and disabilities and who are not asking for any preferential treatment or to be moved up any lists. Due to their vast care needs, many of these individuals have a high number of close contacts per week, putting them at increased risk of contacting Covid-19. All they want is clarity as to when they can receive the vaccination which they’re entitled to.

“I appreciate house visits for vaccination may present challenges, however we already successfully put procedures in place to vaccinate housebound over 70s via the National Ambulance Service so I can’t understand what the delay is. Upon contacting the HSE, I was told that there are still no plans in place to vaccinate this cohort. The lack of information and urgency around progress is causing serious worry for these individuals who feel utterly isolated and forgotten and like their voices are being ignored. Nobody should be made to feel like they are making a fuss for simply asking for something that they’re not only entitled to, but that we are repeatedly urging everyone to get.

“I have written to the Minister for Health to urgently clarify when plans will be put in place to vaccinate this vulnerable group and will continue to push the matter with him. We keep stating we’re all in this together, but it repeatedly feels like a soundbite as opposed to a reality. We cannot allow an entire cohort of vulnerable people to be forgotten in the rollout scheme due to a lack of urgency,” concluded Deputy Costello.