Irish Platform for Patient Organisations, Science & Industry

Patient Organisations Urge Government to Prioritise People with Chronic and Rare Diseases, of All Ages, in Rollout of COVID-19 Vaccines

A coalition of fifteen patient organisations has today (Dec 8th, 2020) written to An Taoiseach and to the Chair of the High-Level Task Force on Vaccination and Immunisation to urge that people with chronic and/or rare diseases, of all ages, be treated as the highest priority in determining early vaccine recipients. Already, many countries around the globe are including this group as a top priority and it is vital that Ireland likewise recognises the importance of doing so.

The coalition is also calling for representatives from the public to be allowed join the membership of the Task Force and for patient organisations and vulnerable group leaders to be urgently engaged in dialogue

Derick Mitchell, Chief Executive of IPPOSI, comments:

“Many chronic and/or rare disease patients manage one or more life-threatening and/or life-limiting conditions. Many have been cocooning since news of the pandemic broke in early 2020. This has had devasting effects for patients and their families – emotional, physical, and financial.

“These are patients who cannot participate in the ‘new normal’ in any way, they cannot ‘risk it’. They cannot rely on social distancing, on mask wearing, or on hand sanitising. To protect their physical health, they must cocoon or self-isolate – completely, indefinitely, and some alone.

“Patients have endured this level of isolation for ten months now and it is critical that they not endure this for a moment longer than is absolutely necessary. We strongly urge the Government and the High-Level Task Force to consider the needs of some of the most vulnerable in society, of all ages, when making its final decisions as to what groups will receive immediate vaccination priority.”

Letter signatories:

  • Seán Moynihan, Chief Executive, Alone
  • Geraldine Kelly, Chief Executive, Alpha 1 Foundation
  • Emily Blennerhassett, Interim Chief Executive, Asthma Society of Ireland
  • Neil Johnson, Chief Executive, Croi, West of Ireland Cardiac & Stroke Foundation
  • Joan Johnston, National Coordinator, COPD Ireland
  • Kieran O’Leary, Chief Executive, Diabetes Ireland
  • John Dolan, Chief Executive, Disability Federation of Ireland
  • John Dunne, Chief Executive, Family Carers Ireland
  • Derick Mitchell, Chief Executive, IPPOSI
  • Rachel Morrogh, Director of Advocacy and External Affairs, Irish Cancer Society
  • Chris Macey, Head of Advocacy, Irish Heart Foundation
  • Martin Rogan, Chief Executive, Mental Health Ireland
  • Magdalen Rogers, Executive Director, Neurological Alliance of Ireland
  • Vicky McGrath, Chief Executive, Rare Diseases Ireland
  • Sarah Lennon, Executive Director, Sage Advocacy

The full letter is available by clicking here or on the image above.

A briefing document containing research performed by IPPOSI is available by clicking here.

A press release from IPPOSI is available by clicking here.

On Dec 10th, 2020, CLL Ireland, MS Ireland, the Irish Kidney Association and the Irish Thoracic Society joined the campaign as a co-signatories.

8 December 2020

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