IGS President's Update, 5th January 2021

Stay safe and well, please get the COVID 19 vaccine when offered and
continue to follow the public health advice

A message from the President of the IGS – Professor Rose Anne Kenny 

Dear Colleagues

Older people and Health care workers in the vanguard of providing care for those most susceptible to infection, and severe consequences of COVID-19 infection, are now being offered the vaccine against SAR2-CoV-2. 
In the last wave of COVID-19, 92% of deaths were in people 65 and older, median age 83 years, although only 26% of infections were in this age group, underscoring the extreme susceptibility for severe outcomes and deaths with advancing age.
We now, thankfully, have a vaccine. This is of critical importance in the fight against the virus and a welcome opportunity after months of concern and isolation for many.
In the first instance, these vaccines are being offered to our health care workers and residents and staff in nursing homes as a matter of the most urgent priority. 
The vaccine will have the dual benefit, in the first instance, of protecting residents of nursing homes from death and hospitalisation and protecting the healthcare worker that provides their care, from contracting SAR2-CoV-2.  At last, we can look forward to some return to normality for our nursing home residents and their caring staff once all are vaccinated.
The safety profile from studies published in major journals provides reassurance as to the benefits provided by vaccination. I had my first vaccination last week.
While it is up to each individual health care worker to decide to get the vaccine, the HSE  is strongly recommending that we do so.  The Patient Information Leaflet can be read at this link.  As more people in Ireland and around the world get this vaccine, more information on side effects may become available. The HSE will update this information regularly on their website, and if necessary, will update the information leaflets.

The Irish Gerontological Society and the Irish Society of Physicians in Geriatric Medicine are also strongly recommending that all nursing home residents, those involved in their care and health care workers across the continuum of care in our communities and hospitals avail of this most important protection. 
Stay safe and well, continue to follow the public health advice, and please get the vaccine when offered. Thank you for your commitment and dedication during this most trying time.
Rose Anne Kenny, President of the Irish Gerontological Society

5th January, 2021