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PPE guidance revision not currently proposed

The HSE has no immediate plans to change guidance on personal protective equipment (PPE) for healthcare workers in the context of roll-out of the Covid-19 vaccination programme, it has confirmed. “HSE Covid clinical guidance is continuously under review in light of emerging international evidence, data and trends,” a spokesperson told the Medical Independent.

While vaccination has extensively rolled out to frontline healthcare workers, there is still uncertainty about the impact of vaccination on transmission and efficacy against some new variants.

During the pandemic, inspection reports by the Health and Safety Authority have frequently identified a lack of mask fit-testing in healthcare facilities. According to the HSE’s spokesperson, a national fit-test programme had been developed and implemented by the workplace health and wellbeing unit and is coordinated and scheduled through HSE coordinators at local level.

The HSE currently has a minimum of three months’ stocks of all PPE products in warehouses to meet medium-term demands, its spokesperson said.

“We also have secondary supply lines in place to add resilience and negate against unforeseen disruptions as they arise.”

In 2020, the total value of orders for PPE in response to the pandemic was €859 million.

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