The European Affairs Committee of the British-Irish Parliamentary Assembly has recommended that the Irish and British governments take a coordinated approach in their preparations for the next pandemic.
In a new report, the Committee said jurisdictions should work together to ensure the availability of PPE and vaccines after raising concerns that supply chains could be affected by changes in security relationships due to global issues such as Brexit and the war in Ukraine.
The report looked at lessons learned from vaccine launches in the UK, Ireland and the European Union during the coronavirus pandemic.
Although the latest HSE evidence does not suggest a winter spike here, as of this morning there were 446 people in hospital with the virus, 18 of them in intensive care.
Last week, the World Health Organization warned that Covid-19 remains a “global emergency”.
With vaccinations expected to continue for the foreseeable future, the Committee found that the UK and Ireland had a consistent approach to vaccination, but called for greater consistency in reporting data on Covid-19 vaccination.
The report says this should be expanded to include standardized measurement and publication of mortality rates to improve future accountability.
Commission President Darren Millar MS said that given the open and shared border on the island of Ireland, not only the response but also the preparedness needs to be more co-ordinated.
Although we’re pleased to see that there is a consistent approach to future vaccination across Ireland and the UK, improvements can be made to improve the response to any future pandemic. The stockpiling of PPE and vaccines should be seen as critical to our joint security, improving resilience, and reducing reliance on supply chains that could come under stress,” he said, reports RTE.
New UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said Covid-19 is “still lingers” as Covid-19 death records in England and Wales rose for the third consecutive week, although the rate of increase may slow.
A total of 565 deaths recorded in the seven days to October 14 mentioned the coronavirus on the death certificate, according to the UK Office for National Statistics.
This is 41% more than the previous week and is the highest number since August.
The increase is driven by the latest wave of Covid-19 infections, which has been recorded since the beginning of September.
During the previous wave of infections in the summer, Covid-19-related deaths peaked at 810 in the week ending July 29.
Meanwhile, in the United States, President Joe Biden will receive an updated booster shot for Covid-19 today and invite more Americans to follow his example.
The 79-year-old contracted the disease three months ago with mild symptoms and already received a second booster at the end of March.
His booster shot targets two subvariants of the virus.
Officials said Biden will also announce efforts to increase the number of Americans who receive the new version of the vaccine before major holiday periods.
Mr. Biden will ask every school district, college and university to host at least one vaccination clinic for Thanksgiving, urging employers to offer paid vaccination leave and host on-site vaccination clinics for employees .
“While Covid-19 is not the disruptive force it was when the president took office, the virus continues to evolve. Covid-19, flu, and other respiratory illnesses spread more quickly in the winter, as people gather indoors. As the weather gets colder, Americans must take action to stay protected. We have the tools we need to manage this moment,” the White House said in a statement, reports RTE.
White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said some 12 million Americans are now receiving up-to-date vaccines, but more progress was needed.
We need everyone to step up and get their updated vaccine as soon as possible,” she said, reports RTE.
The United States reports 260,808 new cases per week and 2,566 deaths, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
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