COVID cases on the rise in Ireland despite a 91% vaccination rate

by mcardinal

Lauren Dempsey, MS in Biomedicine and Law, RN, FISM News 


Ireland is the most vaccinated country in the European Union, but despite a 91% vaccination rate for individuals over the age of 12, positive COVID cases have been on the rise. A report from the Irish Times describes the current situation in Ireland, which has caused concern among health experts. 

The Irish Times states “there were 2,193 new cases reported by the Department of Health putting the seven-day average – a metric that evens out daily fluctuations – at 2,119 a day, up 13 percent in a week.” The number of hospitalizations due to COVID has also been on the rise in the country. As of last week there were over 500 patients hospitalized, which was “the highest level since the start of March when the country was emerging from the third and worst wave of the pandemic. Of those, there were 97 people in hospital intensive care units, up from 74 a week ago.”

The State’s chief medical officer Dr. Tony Holohan stated that the majority of those hospitalized were unvaccinated and used the opportunity to encourage people to get the vaccine. However, a more recent report stated that of the“474 people whose deaths [were] due to Covid-19 between April 1st and October 23rd, 212 or 44.7 per cent were fully vaccinated.” The Imperial College London published further research in the Lancet reiterating that fully vaccinated people can contract and pass on the Delta variant and the peak viral load is similar to what is seen in unvaccinated individuals. 

Health experts in Ireland believe the rise in numbers is due to the removal of COVID-19 restrictions as, like most of the world, people are returning to work, school, and businesses are back open. Experts continue to reinforce the importance of mitigation strategies to reduce the transmission, as well as encourage vaccination and booster shots, even though there is not currently a vaccine available that prevents the transmission of COVID-19. Professor Christine Loscher, from Dublin City University, believes that at home antigen testing should be made widely available and individuals should be self-monitoring and testing twice a week, stating that this “needs to become part of our own monitoring in everyday life.”

Dr. Rochelle Walensky, Director of the CDC, said “As you have heard me say before, we will not boost our way out of this pandemic. And no vaccine, even a booster vaccine, provides 100 percent protection. So even after you boost, it remains important for us to remain smart about our prevention strategies while we still have over 93 percent of our counties with high or moderate community transmission.”

The rise in positive cases and hospitalizations raises important questions about the best way to move past the COVID-19 pandemic. If the prevention strategies that have been in place for the last 18 months and the available vaccines are not sufficient in preventing transmission of the virus, what other mitigation strategies can reduce COVID numbers? Many believe that pushing the vaccine on children is the key to ending the pandemic, despite the fact that children are already very low risk for infection and serious illness.