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no magic bullet Infectious disease expert says 'no amount of vaccination alone will stop Covid'

"In December 2020 we all had a great time and we shouldn’t do that again," said Prof McConkey

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Professor Sam McConkey

Professor Sam McConkey

Professor Sam McConkey

A ‘normal’ Christmas is not on the cards this year as the number of Covid cases continue to surge, according to infectious disease expert Professor Sam McConkey.

The consultant in infectious disease said history will repeat itself if we celebrate Christmas with social gatherings and parties like we did last year which resulted in a massive surge of Covid cases in the New Year.

Speaking on RTÉ One’s Claire Byrne Live last night, he was asked if we can expect to have a more or less normal Christmas this year.

"That unfortunately can’t be the case,” he responded.

"In December 2020 we all had a great time and we shouldn’t do that again,” he said.

While he applauded the Irish public for a relatively high vaccination rate, he said vaccinations will only protect most people from severe illness or death. But they won’t break the train of transmission to others.

“No amount of vaccination alone is going to stop Covid in Ireland,” he said.

Meanwhile, Dr Catherine Motherway, head of intensive care at University Hospital Limerick, agreed, saying “vaccination hasn’t been the magic bullet we thought it would be.”

She said the massive burden on intensive care units across Ireland due to Covid cases is very worrying and if the current trend continues, hospitals will struggle to cope with other emergency cases, such as people presenting at ICUs with life-threatening conditions like heart attacks.

But she said we can “control the burden of disease” if everyone follows public health advice on Covid, such as wearing masks at large outdoor gatherings, such as last weekend’s football and rugby matches at the Aviva Stadium and avoiding crowded places.

"We do need an abrupt halt to the surge,” she told Claire Byrne.

"We need the tap turned off.”

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