Fears grow among GPs for impact of Omicron variant

A DONEGAL doctor has said it is better for someone to “miss Christmas” rather than risk spreading Covid-19 among their family.
From today people who test positive for the virus will have to self-isolate on Christmas Day, according to the Covid advisor for the Irish College of General Practitioners.
It comes as National Public Health Emergency Team (NPHET) is due to make further recommendations today around managing social contacts and decreasing social mixing. One recommendation could see close contacts of confirmed Covid-19 cases having to restrict their movements and stay at home over the Christmas period. Currently, people do not have to restrict movements if they are a non-household close contact and are fully vaccinated.
Speaking to the Donegal News, Dr Denis McCauley, who is the Chair of the Irish Medical Organisation’s GP Committee, urged anyone who tests positive for Covid-19 to take the necessary and responsible steps in order to prevent a further spread of the virus.
“It’s natural at this time of year that that more socialising will be taking place. But, if you test positive please don’t ignore it. It is better to miss Christmas rather than bring the infection into your home and spread it among family and friends.”
Dr McCauley said GPs have deep concern about the Omicron variant.
“There are serious concerns about the Omicron variant. We are worried, as a doctor I am very worried because it is three times more transmissible, and there are going to be more people in hospital.”
The Stranorlar-based GP urged people to put getting their booster vaccination before Christmas on their list and think of it in the same way they would about sending Christmas cards.
“We are being proactive rather than reactive with the rolling out of as many booster vaccinations before Christmas. The programme is looking at GPs, pharmacies, walk-ins, registering or waiting to be contacted. I fear people will think it’s not important to get the booster vaccination before Christmas, but I would urge people to make it a priority.”
Dr McCauley said the next five weeks will be a particularly busy and stressful time for GPs, and he urged the public to have patience.
“We are being asked to give as many boosters over the next five weeks. We ask the public to bear with us over the coming weeks. But please, get the booster vaccination. It is the best way to protect yourself and others.”
GPs will be concentrating efforts to meet demand for booster vaccinations, and Dr McCauley is hoping that it will be high.

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