Sinn Féin TD for Dublin South West Seán Crowe has said that the impending roll out of the COVID-19 vaccine will be one of the most important public health projects in the history of the state and that take this opportunity to stamp out COVID and return to as much of the old normality that we can.

Speaking in the Dáil last night on vaccine plan, Teachta Crowe said:

“This has in many, many ways been a year to forget. Ireland has seen more than 76 thousand cases of COVID and more than 2 thousand deaths.

“The losses endured by thousands of families is unimaginable. Loved ones snatched away by a virus that has swept the globe and left no corner untarnished. The damage to the financial and employment situation of households across the country is almost beyond counting.

“However, there is now light at the end of the tunnel. The global medical community has come together in a way never seen before and now we have vaccines that will help break the back of COVID and allow us to start thinking about a world free of this wretched illness.

“There are those who will ask how we were able to come up with a vaccine so fast. In other diseases, vaccines can take years to create or we may never find one at all. The answer is that the world has never had to face a problem like COVID-19.

“Never before has so much money and resources been poured into finding an answer to a medical problem. COVID effectively locked down the whole world. This could not be allowed to continue.

“The Government has unveiled its plan to roll out the vaccine to the whole state. I welcome that plan though I would have preferred more detail, particularly in relation to how GPs and our healthcare workforce will be utilised in vaccinating millions of people.

“Greater clarity is needed in what specific medical conditions will be prioritised or where those who have recovered from COVID already will fit in. Questions also remain over the registration process and what is considered an ‘essential business’.

“I hope that, as Chair of the Oireachtas Committee, I can be of help in asking the questions that the public want answered and help to address their fears, because there will be fears. That is only natural.

“There will be those who have legitimate fears about the vaccine. They may be weary of doctors and injections in general. They may be fearful of this new and unknown COVID vaccine. I urge these people to listen to the medical experts, to trust in the science, and voice your fears to us so that we can answer them.

“There will also be those who will seek to spread false information, to sow fear and doubt. We saw this in the early days of the pandemic. Some groups chose to frighten people to further their own aims and agendas. We cannot allow that to happen again. The mass vaccination programme is the only way that we can stamp out COVID and get life as close to the old normal as we can.

“I call on anyone who would knowingly spread disinformation to stop and think about the damage and harm you are doing.

“Vaccines are safe. They are one of the most effective weapons in the fight against disease

“Smallpox, polio, TB, all viruses that have been eradicated or banished to the poorest or most remote parts of the world by vaccines. It is important that this work continues.

“Vaccines are not to be feared. I will be taking the vaccine when my number comes up in the roll out and I would encourage all others to do the same.”