Sinn Féin spokesperson on Enterprise, Trade and Employment Louise O’Reilly TD has said the slow and bungled vaccine rollout is a concern for businesses who fear it will damage the ability to reopen the economy in the coming months.
Speaking this afternoon, Teachta O’Reilly said:
“The mainstay of the plan to get us out of the Covid crisis is the vaccine, yet the vaccination rollout here has hardly been an unqualified success.
“In the early stages of the rollout, the government were given the benefit of the doubt by politicians and the media as they overcame early teething problems.
“However, the situation has escalated significantly in the past number of days as vaccination targets have been missed and reports of significant logistical failures, such as no vaccines being delivered to some GPs and others not receiving any syringes or needles.
“Furthermore, some GPs have raised serious concerns about the ‘buddy system’ where practices with less than 200 over-70 patients are not provided with any vaccine, but rather told to pair with another practice.
“What is worse is the government are currently blaming the missed vaccine targets on GPs and a delay in the supply of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine, however, this is unfair and untrue as the medical community know that GPs are currently using the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine exclusively.
“The fault for the missed targets lies directly at the government’s doorstep.
“The lack of honesty and clarity from the government and the HSE in relation to the slow vaccine rollout is infuriating for workers and employers, who are all eager to see us get on top of the virus so we can try to move forward socially and economically.
“The latest statistics show that we have issued a first does of the vaccine to just 6% of the population compared to 28.8% in the north of Ireland.
“If the government and the HSE do not get a handle on the vaccine rollout, then these issues will continue, and it will damage our ability to reopen the economy in the coming weeks and months.”