Co-leader of the Social Democrats, Róisín Shortall TD, has asked the Government to consider moving teenagers with underlying health conditions further up the priority list when a Covid-19 vaccine becomes available.

Speaking in the Dáil today, Deputy Shortall said:

“Earlier this week, the Minister for Health released the first report in relation to the proposed priority groupings for the vaccine. It was surprising and disappointing to note that on a list of 14 cohorts, teenagers under the age of 18 were last on the list.

“There are a significant number of young people in this category with serious underlying health conditions, so it is difficult to understand why they are so far down the list.

“We know from the analysis done on cases – in terms of mortality or admissions to hospital and ICU – that having one or more underlying health conditions is a very significant factor for outcomes.

“The impact of Covid-19 on mental health was raised in the Dáil week. For teenagers living with serious medical conditions, the mental health impact is multiplied several times over.

“It was a terrible blow to young people in those circumstances to hear they are last on the list to get the vaccine.

“I note the Tánaiste’s comments today that he will engage with the Chief Medical Officer and NPHET on these concerns and I hope that due consideration will be give to moving this particular category of young person – in addition to adults with underlying conditions under the age of 65 – further up the priority list.

“The fantastic breakthrough in relation to vaccines has given hope to people the world over. However, in rolling out a vaccination programme, it is important the Government ensures that the most vulnerable in our society are early recipients.”

December 10, 2020

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