harsh words | 

Newstalk presenter Ciara Kelly has a pop at Dr Tony Holohan over Christmas recommendations

She told Dr Tony Holohan to "leave young people alone"
Newstalk's Ciara Kelly

Newstalk's Ciara Kelly

Clodagh Meaney

Newstalk presenter Ciara Kelly has taken a pop at Chief Medical Officer of the HSE, Dr Tony Holohan.

It came as they discussed how young people were asked to minimise their social contacts ahead of Christmas.

“I think it’s unfair for him to single them out when they're in the age group that are out in the low pay jobs that are face to face in reality and in hospitality,” she said.

“And they are the unvaccinated and they’re not allowed to be vaccinated currently.”

“Leave them alone,” she said.

As the Omicron variant of Covid became the most dominant strain of the virus this week, NPHET have introduced new restrictions and asked young people to only meet with the people that they plan to spend December 25th with.

“He's calling on all young people from 16 to 34, and I understand that the positivity rate has gone up in that group.”

“But these are the group who cannot access the booster,” she continued.

“These are the group that we know that because a lot of them got Jannsen have zero immunity so it's very easy for them to get the six to seven times more transmissible Omicron.”

“They're also the people who have lived proportionally in terms of their shorter lives for longer under restrictions than anybody else at a time when they are, let's face it, at almost zero risk of serious complications from Covid,” she claimed.

“To me it is an important time of life.”

“You can minimise the importance of socialising to that group, but it's not fair because its fundamental to their personality development, to their social development and even their establishment of things like friendships and relationships.”

“Sometimes lifelong relationships that happen at that age.”

When co-host Shane Coleman highlighted that people have been asked to curb their social interactions between now in Christmas in a bid to protect their vulnerable relatives, the former GP disagreed.

“[It’s] until we get the Omicron under control which could be February or March,” she responded.

“If they are at zero risk, why the need to move them up the booster programme?” he asked.

“It’s to stop the transmission, to stop the spread,” she answered.

“Here’s the thing, if you want them to stay at home, if you want them to shoulder the burden with everyone else, give them the booster like everybody else.”

Pushing back on her, Shane asks if Ciara believes that 16 to 34 year olds should get the vaccine even if they’re as she said “zero risk.”

“There is very, very minimal difference in the risk between somebody 18 contracting Covid and somebody 39 contracting Covid.”

“That age group is homogeneous in terms of risk.”

However, Ciara fails to note that those in this age group with underlying conditions do face risks from Covid-19.

On Tuesday Dr Holohan said: “This week, try and only meet with the people with whom you will spend Christmas Day.”

He also said that Omicron now accounts for approximately two-thirds of cases in Ireland now and public health officials are seeing more household contacts test positive as a result.

“If there is one positive test, whether from a PCR or an antigen test, within a group such as a household then there is a significant chance that others are already infected, even if not yet testing positive.”

“If one person from a household tests positive prior to an event or gathering, then none should attend,” Dr Holohan said.

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