Antigen tests for close contacts available from today

The Minister for Health has stated people who find themselves deemed close contacts of a Covid-19 case will be despatched antigen tests from today.

Stephen Donnelly stated close contacts can count on to start out receiving the fast tests from tomorrow.

Under the system, folks can use the antigen tests at dwelling if they’re each absolutely vaccinated and would not have signs.

In circumstances the place folks have signs, they’re suggested to self-isolate and prepare a PCR take a look at.

People who’re eligible for antigen tests will get a name from a contact tracer who will prepare to have the take a look at posted to their houses.

Free take a look at kits might be despatched and persons are suggested to take a take a look at on the day they obtain it; take the second take a look at two days after the primary and the third take a look at two days after the second.

If any of the tests returns a constructive consequence, the individual ought to self-isolate and prepare for a PCR take a look at to verify.

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The minister additionally stated he believes there’s "a strong case" for healthcare staff to be given booster vaccines.

Speaking on Newstalk, Mr Donnelly stated the Department of Health and the Chief Medical Officer are "working very closely" with the National Immunisation Advisory Council (NIAC) on the matter.

Asked about rolling out the booster photographs with out the approval of NIAC, he stated he could be "very loath to step away from NIAC advice".

Mr Donnelly stated booster photographs for folks over 60 will start from subsequent week.

He stated it’s deliberate that individuals aged 60 to 69 will obtain their jabs at mass vaccination centres, whereas these aged 70 to 79 will go to their GPs, however he added: "The final details are still being worked through at the moment."

A professor of experimental immunology at Trinity College Dublin has stated there’s a have to roll out booster vaccines "pretty fast", notably to older folks.

Prof Kingston Mills advised RTÉ's News at One that that there may very well be a big enhance within the hospitalisation of older folks over the winter months as waning Covid-19 immunity and different infections affect on their well being.

Prof Mills stated that waning immunity from Covid-19 was initially rebuffed by specialists, however that proof is mounting to indicate that antibody ranges are very excessive after a second vaccine dose, however then begins to drop after six months.

He additionally stated he thinks it’s crucial to supply extra vaccinations to healthcare staff quickly after which transfer down although the inhabitants age teams as soon as the over-60s have acquired a 3rd dose.

Prof Mills stated the over 60s who had been vaccinated with Astrazeneca are notably weak over the winter as they have to wait longer for a 3rd dose.

He stated that healthcare staff are working with weak folks and it’s crucial that these sufferers don’t change into additional contaminated in hospital settings.

Prof Mills stated that the Covid-19 virus mutates at a extra fast charge than it initially was thought so vaccines going ahead will must be up to date.

He stated future Covid-19 vaccines are prone to be nasal sprays as this may very well be simpler at creating native immunity within the nasal cavity and stopping the unfold of the illness.

Meanwhile, the HSE is interesting to anybody with Covid-19 signs to behave rapidly, get a take a look at, and defend the folks round them.

As a part of a brand new 'Thank You' marketing campaign, the HSE is asking folks to not attend work or another occasions if they’ve any Covid signs.

HSE Clinical Director Dr Colm Henry stated it has to change into unacceptable for folks to go to work with chilly or flu-like signs or attend a social occasion with a cough or after simply having a Covid take a look at.

He stated: "We know from our analysis and planning that this recommendation isn’t simple for everybody for comply with. There is plenty of strain on folks to work, to get again to enterprise, and an awesome need to take pleasure in alternatives to soundly meet family and friends once more.

"But, if we don't take prompt action when we have Covid-19 symptoms – by staying at home and getting a test – we put others at risk. Our hope is that we can all work together – employers, family and friends – to make this behaviour an essential part of how we protect each other."

Vaccine message for pregnant ladies 'getting by way of'

The Health Service Executive's Clinical Director of Women and Infant Health has stated 15 pregnant ladies have been admitted to ICUs with Covid-19 since September, however the message that vaccination is critical "appears to be getting through".

Speaking on RTÉ's Morning Ireland, the previous grasp of the Rotunda Hospital stated pregnant ladies accounted for 1% of ICU admissions final 12 months.

This climbed to 2% within the first half of 2021, however extra lately that determine rose to 7%.

Dr Peter McKenna stated these ladies have been critically unwell, with some requiring air flow for weeks.

None of the ladies had been absolutely vaccinated and simply two had been partially vaccinated, he stated.

Dr McKenna stated a current survey of sufferers in all 19 maternity items discovered that 58% of the 750 ladies had been absolutely vaccinated, whereas 74% of their companions had been absolutely vaccinated.

He described it as a really gratifying determine as a result of it got here from "a very, very low base".

"It would counsel to me that the message that vaccination is critical should you don't wish to change into unwell, is getting by way of.

"I think that we may now have reached a tipping point where the message is absolutely clear and unequivocal that all pregnant women for their sake and for the sake of their baby should be vaccinated", he stated.

Dr McKenna stated ladies within the late phases of being pregnant, notably the final three months when respiration is harder, are getting sicker than different ladies of the identical age and well being who will not be pregnant.

He additionally stated that the newest tips for companion visits to maternity hospitals are as a consequence of be launched on 1 November and all hospitals might be inspired to conform to one of the best of their potential with the brand new tips.

"None of these restrictions were introduced on a whim. They were all introduced in order to make the hospitals as safe as possible for patients and for staff," Dr McKenna stated.

"I suppose really that with deteriorating rates and increased pressure on the hospitals maybe the path ahead isn't as smooth as we would have hoped for. But I don't think, well I'm sure, that there will never be a return to the original level of restrictions that we would have had earlier."

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