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concerned parents Leading doctor warns young people 'intentionally' contracting Covid to obtain digital cert 

In a statement issued by the HSE Public Health Midlands, the practice is described as “extremely risky and dangerous” behaviour

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Young people may be “intentionally” contracting Covid-19 in order to obtain a Covid Digital Certificate, a leading doctor has warned. 

Dr Douglas Hamilton of HSE Public Health Midlands said it has recently come to their attention that ‘a number’ of teenagers and young adults may have ‘acquired Covid-19 intentionally’ at social events in order to obtain the Covid Digital Certificate.

Speaking to Midlands 103, Dr Hamilton said the department has heard from several concerned parents about the use of such practices.

“They say there may have been parties or gatherings where their children, in the age group of 16 to 25, may have gone with the intention of getting Covid and then getting the Covid cert to give them the chance to travel,” he said.

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In a statement issued by the HSE Public Health Midlands, the practice is described as “extremely risky and dangerous” behaviour.

“The currently circulating Delta variant has higher morbidity and mortality rates, also for the young.

“With this comes higher rates of ‘long Covid’, potentially resulting in lifelong cardiac, respiratory, cerebral or renal disease.

“It also carries a high risk of onward spread to elderly and other vulnerable people, who may not have mounted as good an immune response to vaccination as younger and fully fit people, putting them at risk of serious disease,” they said.

Dr Hamilton said they are strongly advising against any such practices, adding that vaccination provides better immunity than infection.

“We therefore advise that young people (18 to 24 years old) register as soon as possible to get vaccinated,” he added.

The latest Health Protection Surveillance Centre figures, up to July 22, show that more than a quarter of new infections -3,767 cases - in Ireland are among the 19-24 age group.

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Just over 20pc of new infections are among the 25-34 age group while almost 20pc of new infections were found among the 13-18 age group.

It comes as vaccine registration opened this morning to 16 and 17 year olds.

Young people can currently register for a vaccine through the HSE vaccination portal with a Personal Public Service (PPS) number, eircode, a mobile phone number and an email address or can call HSE Live on 1800 700 700 to register.

This age cohort can also book a Janssen vaccine appointment, which offers full protection after a single dose at a participating pharmacy.

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