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Over 200 doctors were reported as Covid-19 cases over the Christmas and New Year period, according to the most recent figures from the Health Protection Surveillance Centre (HPSC).
The HPSC published its first Covid cases in Healthcare Workers – 14-day report of 2021 on Tuesday (12 January).
The report includes data on healthcare worker (HCW) cases notified to HPSC from 27 December until 9 January, during the current general surge in Covid-19 cases.
A total number of 63,692 cases were reported during this period, of which 5,019 were HCWs. This is almost 8 per cent of the total number of cases.
There were 223 cases among doctors reported, a figure that makes up 4.4 per cent of the total number of HCW cases.
Nurses had the most cases among HCWs, with 1,137, which was 22.7 per cent of the HCW total, while next came healthcare assistants, then “admin/clerical workers” before doctors.
Doctors were followed by home care, catering staff and pharmacy workers .
During the period the median age of HCW Covid-19 cases was 39 years (range 15-74 years).
The number of female cases is disproportionately high (78 per cent ) among HCW cases compared to non-HCW cases (49.8 per cent ). This is “most likely due to some HCW specialities e.g. nursing, being female dominated,” according to the HPSC.
“Of all HCW Covid-19 cases reported between 27 December and 9 January, 25 had been admitted to hospital (0.5 per cent). The median age of hospital inpatient HCW cases was 49 years (range: 23-73 years). One hospitalised Covid-19 case was admitted to ICU,” according to the HPSC.
A Covid-19 vaccination programme for HCWs is currently being rolled out.
While many doctors have praised the efficiency of the programme, there have also been reports in some hospitals that non-frontline staff have received vaccines before medical and healthcare staff working directly with patients in order to prevent vaccine wastage.
In a statement on vaccine rollout to the Medical Independent, the IHCA said: ‘’IHCA members are available and assisting the health service management where required in implementing the vaccination programme in our acute hospitals and mental health services.”
“We are working with the HSE to provide vaccines to all HCWs as soon as possible,” according to the Association.
“We are conscious that vaccine supply was a constraint and that increasing supply is helping to speed up the process. Further supply increases in the weeks ahead will be needed for the vaccination of the priority groups and the wider population.”