RTE Prime Time viewers surprised by Covid advice from top professor. Daily Live News

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RTE Prime Time viewers surprised by Covid advice from top professor

He said the virus has “taken advantage of some loopholes in our immunity”


Cormac O’Shea

  • 15:42, 22 JUN 2022
  • Updated15:44, 22 JUN 2022
Woman wearing mask on busy street
Woman wearing mask on busy street (Image: Matthew Horwood/Getty Images)

An Irish virologist says that the return of mask wearing in public places won’t do much to stop the summer wave of Covid which is spreading across Ireland.

Professor Liam Fanning of UCC told RTE host Miriam O’Callaghan on Prime Time that he would not recommend the return of masks. However, the professor did admit that the pandemic is here “for the foreseeable.”

Speaking on the current affair programme, Prof Fanning was asked if mask wearing should come back in public spaces, to which he responded: “No I don’t think we should go back to mask wearing in public places for a couple of reasons. Masks have been put forward almost as if it’s a shield against Covid-19, first of all not all masks are created equally and if you don’t wear the mask appropriately it’s actually quite ineffective.

Have your say: Should facemasks become mandatory again as Covid cases rise in Ireland?

“The second thing is we’re dealing with a virus now, Omicron BA.5 and 4 which is much more transmissible because of the amount of virus that is transmitted by these infected individuals is very large. And these incomplete shields leave people open to infection.

“That’s not to say masks don’t give some degree of protection, they do, particularly the FFP2 masks.”

He went on to add masks don’t give an “absolute shield” and the virus has “taken advantage of some loopholes in our immunity”. The expert added that the pandemic is “certainly with us for the foreseeable future”.1

It comes as Taoiseach Micheál Martin has said the State’s vaccine advisory body are considering whether people aged under 65 should get a second Covid booster vaccine. Just yesterday Health Minister Stephen Donnelly expressed concern about the surge in Covid cases.

Speaking to the Irish Mirror, Mr Martin confirmed the National Immunisation Advisory Committee (NIAC) is giving consideration to whether the wider population should be eligible for a second booster vaccine.

Read more: National Concert Hall concerts cancelled due to Covid-19

He said “the most important point now would be that NIAC have already indicated that over 65 year olds and those who are immunosuppressed should have their second booster and I would appeal to people in that age category and in that category more generally to take up the booster.”

He said there has been a low uptake in both groups.

Mr Martin said NIAC will come back to the Government on whether it will “widen the participation” for different age cohorts and advise those aged under 65 should get a second booster jab.

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