That was the warning from Northern Ireland’s Chief Medical Officer Dr Michael McBride, who said he wants “our friends and neighbours in the Republic of Ireland to have access to this vaccine as quickly as possible.”
The latest figures on vaccination rates in the Republic of Ireland show that, like most European countries, it is lagging well behind the UK in terms of what percentage of the population has been vaccinated.
Excluding micro-states such as the Seychelles, the UK has vaccinated more of its population than all but two countries on earth — Israel and the United Arab Emirates.
Despite its smaller population, there have been more coronavirus vaccinations carried out in Northern Ireland than in the Republic of Ireland.
Dr McBride was asked by the News Letter this week what implilcations this could have on public health on this side of the border.
“It is certainly something that I have been giving consideration to,” he said.
“I want our friends and neighbours in the Republic of Ireland to have access to this vaccine as quickly as possible.
“Clearly, the sooner we can vaccinate people on these two islands the better for all of us.”
He continued: “That’s the best way to protect the population because as long as we continue to have transmission of the virus and replication of the virus on one part of these islands, we will continue to be at risk in all other parts of these islands.”
The Chief Medical Officer said supply issues were to blame for the slower pace in the Republic of Ireland, saying: “Obviously the Republic of Ireland, like other European countries, at this present moment in time are constrained by the production and the distribution of vaccine.”
The head of Northern Ireland’s vaccine roll-out, Patricia Donnelly, added: “None of us are safe until all of us are safe.”
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