Jack Quann
Jack Quann

16.40 2 Jul 2021


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An infectious disease specialist says accelerating vaccines will not stop the Delta variant from spreading.

But Professor Sam McConkey says allowing vaccinations in pharmacies is a 'great and fantastic move'.

He was speaking as Ireland's vaccine rollout looks to accelerate, with younger people being able to receive a Johnson & Johnson vaccine in pharmacies from Monday.

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Health Minister Stephen Donnelly earlier confirmed the "significant acceleration" of Ireland's vaccine programme that younger cohorts can begin to access the one-shot Janssen vaccine in pharmacies in just a few days' time.

Prof McConkey told The Hard Shoulder we can't outrun Delta, as it is already too late.

"I'm hoping it will outrun a lot of the mortality and morbidity - the Delta variant is already here unfortunately, it's already spreading.

"So it won't outrun and get rid of the cases, there'll still be a surge in cases.

"But I'm hoping they'll mostly be in younger people and won't have that conversion onto hospitalisation and death.

"So I think it's impossible to completely outrun the Delta variant - we've left things open - we've chosen as a nation not to go down the zero-COVID route.

"Once you've done that, then inevitably it's here and it's spreading and it's growing.

"But what I'm hoping is - and what we're seeing in England - is that the hospitalisation rate is very low from it, the death rate from it is also very low".

Romanian vaccines

Prof McConkey says the move to allow pharmacies vaccinate makes sense.

"I think it's great... the pharmacies are experienced at vaccine delivery - through flu vaccine every year.

"They're trusted, they're local, they know the people in their community and they know their families.

"And rather than having to drive dozens of miles, people just have access to their local pharmacy.

"So I think it's great to use this pharmacy network of skilled professionals to enhance the vaccination campaign.

"So I think this is a great and fantastic move".

Reacting to plans by Ireland to buy one million vaccines from Romania, he says this is sad for Romania.

"I'm sorry for the people in Romania who chose not to use these - I hope we're not making their healthcare worse.

"But if they're choosing not to take them, that's their own business.

"I think they're making an error there and I think that's sad.

"I feel we need to maybe help other European countries, and countries worldwide, to look for worldwide solutions to this problem.

"I think we need to try and help other countries achieve high vaccination rates."

Ramping up vaccines 'can't outrun the Delta variant' - McConkey

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Main image: Professor Sam McConkey | Picture by: RCSI_Irl on Twitter

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