We are grateful for your continuing support in helping to share information about COVID-19. Below are a few communications updates for you, including some new information about vaccination for people who have health condition that put them at very high risk if they get COVID-19.
Visiting people in Long Term Care Facilities – Updated guidance has been agreed for nursing homes and long-term care facilities where most people have been vaccinated, allowing for more frequent visiting arrangements. This will provide support to people in our community who have endured a difficult year, with separation from friends and family. The updated guidance is available here.
COVID Tracker app: update and translated videos – The COVID Tracker app now includes the ability to set a reminder to check-in with how you’re feeling every day. The app supports contact tracing and helps to find close contacts you might have forgotten or who are unknown to you, like when you are shopping or on public transport. Using the check-in tool is a helpful reminder if you develop symptoms so you have a record of when you started to feel unwell.
The COVID Tracker app is available in a number of languages. To support the uptake of the COVID Tracker app, we have developed translated videos. You can access the videos in Arabic, French, Latvian, Lithuanian, Polish and Portuguese on YouTube.
COVID-19 Vaccination Programme – The vaccination programme continues to be rolled out nationwide, and more than 632,359 vaccines have been administered as of the 16th March 2021. Vaccination of Group 2 (frontline healthcare workers) and Group 3 (those aged 70 and over) continue, and we have also begun to vaccinate Group 4 (people with certain health conditions that put them at very high risk). Our hospital and healthcare teams continue to work to identify and plan for contacting people in Group 4. For now, people in these groups don’t need to take any action.
COVID-19 Vaccine Centres
Videos with information about how the vaccination centres will operate are available here.
Infection Prevention and Control guidelines for Early Learning and Care and School Age Childcare settings during the COVID-19 Pandemic
Isolation quick guide: adults and children from their 13th birthday
Isolation quick guide: greater than 3 months and up to 13th birthday
COVID-19 Religious settings guidance
Summary of Key Guidance Points for Infection Prevention and Control and Outbreak Control in a Long-Term Residential Care Facility
COVID-19 Vaccination Poster for Travellers
HSE COVID-19 Vaccination information videos for Travellers
These videos were produced in partnership with Pavee point, HSE National Social Inclusion office, National Immunisation Office and HSE Communications.
- Are the COVID-19 vaccines safe for me?
- Why is it important to get the COVID-19 vaccine?
- If I’ve already had COVID-19, do I still need the vaccine?
- Can I still get COVID-19 after getting the vaccine?
- Where can I get more information about the COVID-19 vaccines – Information I can trust?
- When can I get the COVID-19 vaccine?
- What are the side effects of COVID-19 vaccine?
COVID-19 Vaccine AstraZeneca® safety update – The European Medicines Agency (EMA) has recommended the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine as safe and effective, whose benefits outweigh the risks, following a review of potential side effects carried out this week.
The National Immunisation Advisory Committee (NIAC), which is the expert group that advises on vaccination in Ireland, has recommended that vaccination with COVID-19 vaccine AstraZeneca should recommence. The HSE will now resume using the AstraZeneca vaccine within our ongoing COVID-19 vaccination programme. Hospitals, CHOs, service providers and clinicians will be supporting colleagues and patients who will now be invited for their vaccine. Please find attached a document with further information.
Support the Quit Leaders – Smoking increases your risk of acute respiratory infections like COVID-19 by damaging the natural barriers in your airways and lungs that help prevent infections. Thankfully, many people are giving up smoking because of the risk posed by COVID-19 and with the support of the HSE Quit programme, they have a much better chance of success. We have recruited 10 would-be quitters to tell their stories and help inspire others to join them on the journey towards becoming smoke-free. Please see the Quit 2021 pack attached to find out more about how you can follow their journey to inspire even more people to Quit.
Medical Cards for patients with Terminal Illnesses – The Government introduced a measure on Feb 9th 2021 that will enable individuals, who have been certified by their treating consultant as having a prognosis of less than 24 months to live, to be awarded a medical card without undergoing a means test. The measure is being introduced on an administrative basis pending legislative change. From 12th March 2021, a medical card can be awarded (without a means test) to an individual who has been certified by their treating consultant as having a prognosis of 24 months or less and the updated information is available on the HSE website here.
EU Web Survey to explore current drug trends in Ireland is open for Irish participation
HSE in collaboration with the Health Research Board and the EU drugs agency (EMCDDA) are asking adults in Ireland who use drugs to complete this survey to help shape the future of drug policies and interventions. The survey is anonymous and is open to adults aged 18 and over. The survey is open from today for a 6 week period.
The survey is available here. For information and support relating to your own or someone else’s drug use, go to www.drugs.ie or Freephone the HSE Helpline on 1800 459 459 Monday – Friday 9:30 – 5:30 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Grow It Forward 2021 initiative – this was recently launched, as part of the Government’s Keep Well campaign and funded by Sláintecare, through the Healthy Ireland fund. The Grow It Forward 2021 initiative, in partnership with Healthy Ireland and Libraries Ireland, is designed to help the nation’s wellbeing by inspiring and supporting people to grow some of their own food and plants at home while connecting with friends and family to join them. Evidence shows the positive effects of outdoors and gardening on mental wellbeing
Through this initiative, 50,000 seed packs will be given away, and participants asked to use the kits to share the experience with ten people, enabling half a million people across Ireland to enjoy the wide range of benefits that come from growing food at home. You are invited to claim a Grow it Forward pack. Register here https://bit.ly/3twwQuz or by contacting your local library (all 330 branches nationwide are helping to drive the effort). Join the Grow It Forward initiative using the links and hashtags – #GrowItForward. #KeepWell Together with @LibrariesIre, @HealthyIreland, @LGMAIreland
Where to find ongoing COVID-19 Vaccination Information – We encourage everyone to read about the COVID-19 vaccine and to get their information from a factual, trusted source – here are the links to the pages with information on the vaccine:
- Check gov.ie/covid19vaccine for information about the vaccine, information on this page is updated regularly
- Find the vaccine information materials at www.hse.ie/covid19vaccinematerials
- Details on getting the COVID-19 vaccine is updated regularly here
- Read the full COVID-19 Vaccine Allocation Strategy
- Read the National Immunisation Advisory Committee Chapter about COVID-19 vaccine
- COVID-19 vaccine information for health professionals
Public Health Information – As always, for the most up to date information and advice on Coronavirus, please go to: https://www.gov.ie/en/campaigns/c36c85-covid-19-coronavirus/ and https://www.hpsc.ie/a-z/respiratory/coronavirus/novelcoronavirus/.
Please also check the Healthy Ireland site here with further resources and information on the Keep Well campaign.
Ireland’s COVID-19 Data Hub is available here.
Many thanks for your continued support,
COVID-19 Stakeholder Engagement