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Oireachtas health committee launches report on addressing vitamin D deficiency

The Oireachtas joint committee on health today launched its ‘Report on addressing Vitamin D deficiency as a public health measure in Ireland’.

The committee heard evidence that vitamin D deficiency is prevalent across the population.  The report recommends that public health measures are established to address this issue. These public health measures are preventative in nature and are recommended to reduce the risk of respiratory and other illnesses such as osteoporosis.

The committee’s report makes four recommendations:

  • Daily vitamin D supplementation of 20-25µg/day should be recommended to the entire adult population as a public health measure, with higher doses recommended for vulnerable groups under medical supervision.
  • A public health policy which promotes better knowledge of the benefits of vitamin D, and which encourages vitamin D supplementation, should be developed in time for consideration in Budget 2022.
  • Reducing the cost of vitamin D supplementation, in order to promote its uptake, should be considered, through the reduction or elimination of the current VAT rate; and
  • Specific measures need to be put in place for vulnerable groups, and for frontline and healthcare workers, so that vitamin D supplementation is administered on an opt-out basis, and for the duration of this pandemic people should be offered vitamin D supplements when presenting at Covid-19 test centres.

Welcoming the publication of the report, health committee Chairman Deputy Seán Crowe said: “As we emerge from the Covid-19 pandemic, international studies, and the experience of Finland in particular, show just how effective daily vitamin D supplementation can be when it is implemented as part of an enhanced public health policy. This supplementation represents a safe, practical, and effective means of protecting human health.

“The State needs to review preventative measures that might have led to fewer mortalities and lower morbidity. In that regard, the role of Vitamin D needs to be addressed as part of an enhanced public health policy to protect the population against respiratory infections and other illnesses. “

Deputy Crowe thanked the witnesses who gave evidence to the committee and to the members of the committee and the secretariat for their input into this report.

He added: “I commend this report to the Dáil and Seanad and I look forward to the development of this new public health policy this year.”

The committee met with experts from the Covit-D Consortium; Dr Daniel McCartney, Prof Rose Anne Kenny; Prof James Bernard Walsh; Prof John Faul and Dr Martin Healy on this issue on 23 February 2021, in preparation for the report.

The report is available at the following link – https://data.oireachtas.ie/ie/oireachtas/committee/dail/33/joint_committee_on_health/reports/2021/2021-04-07_report-on-addressing-vitamin-d-deficiency-as-a-public-health-measure-in-ireland_en.pdf

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