Carers, hospitality in urgent Covid plea

Liz Collins, mum and primary carer of Claudia who has EB, a debilitating skin condition has told how her worst nightmare came true when she and her husband tested positive for Covid 19. She is calling for informal family carers to be included in priority lists for the Covid vaccine.

PRIORITY for Covid-19 vaccines should be given to the thousands of family carers in Kilkenny, campaigners have insisted.
Liz Collins is the mother and primary carer of a teenager with a debilitating skin condition whose worst nightmare came true when she and her husband Gary both tested positive for the virus.
Now she is pleading for informal family carers to be included in priority lists for the Covid vaccine.
Becoming ill left Liz (pictured) and Gary deeply concerned over who would care for their 17-year-old daughter Claudia, who has Recessive Dystrophic EB, a rare and debilitating skin disease. Liz caught Covid during the first lockdown last year and was hospitalised, while Gary also contracted it around the same time.
“It was my worst nightmare – I needed someone to care for my child,” said Liz.
“While all the professional carers are currently receiving the vaccine, informal family carers are not currently scheduled to get it any sooner than the general population, even though they play a vital role as primary caregivers to people who have very vulnerable immune systems.”
The clinical decision by the National Immunisation Advisory Committee (NIAC) is that family carers be covered in other groups receiving the vaccine, but that group has not been identified.
Debra Ireland is calling for the Government to outline what priority family carers will be given, and a date for when vaccination will begin.
Debra Ireland was set up in 1988 by families living with the painful, genetic skin condition EB who had no support and nowhere to turn.  Debra Ireland joining with other organisations like Family Carers Ireland in calling for family carers to be included as a priority group for vaccinations.
Meanwhile, hotel and guesthouse owners in Kilkenny Carlow are calling for an urgent review of business and employment supports for the hospitality sector following the Taoiseach’s announcement that it is unlikely to reopen before mid-summer.
They are also asking the Government to intervene with the banks to ensure that appropriate supports and engagement processes are in place for business owners and their team members until Covid 19 has been suppressed.
Colm Neville, chair of the South East branch of the Irish Hotels Federation, warned that failure to act now would have long-term implications that could take years to repair.
Mr Neville said: “Public health must always be the number one priority and we recognise the difficult balance the Government has to achieve.
“However, if the all-important summer period is being eroded, additional supports are required to safeguard businesses and livelihoods.”

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