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Deaths among those aged 85 and over from Covid-19 have plummeted by almost 99 per cent since January, according to ICGP Covid-19 lead Dr Nuala O’Connor.
Welcoming the significant fall in mortality, Dr O’Connor told the Medical Independent (MI) that in the first four weeks of January 795 deaths were recorded in the over 85s age group.
Following the rollout of the national vaccination campaign, seven deaths in the last four weeks have occurred among the group, she said.
“This evidence shows that the vaccines work. We are beginning to see real work evidence of the vaccine effectiveness in Ireland,” said Dr O’Connor.
“No vaccine is 100 per cent effective but they are all proven to protect against serious disease, hospitalisation and death. The best vaccine is the vaccine you’re offered.”
A reduction in calls from the public has occurred at her Cork practice, compared to the previous week when GPs reported a rise in contacts from patients about vaccine concerns and questions.
The calls increased after advice was issued that the Astra Zeneca vaccine would be given to the 60-69 year olds. It has since been recommended for use among those age 50-69. GPs have stressed to patients that they have no role in deciding who receives what vaccine and when.
“I think people have reflected, discussed it and decided to go for it,” said Dr O’Connor, in reference to the numbers registering for vaccination.
She said that by 20 April 147,000 people out of about 170,000 nationally aged 65-69 had registered for vaccination.
At 26 April 250,000 registrations were recorded among those aged 60-69, she added, out of about 400,000, which she described as positive.
A decision confirming use of the Johnson&Johnson vaccine in people aged over 50 “will help to improve people’s confidence in registering for the vaccine and gives us more options,” she advised.
Her practice remains “exceptionally busy” with vaccinations and non-Covid work, she said.