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15/03/2021 Comments are off AideenC
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COVID-19 Vaccine Staff Update on AstraZeneca vaccine

A decision has been made to temporarily defer administration of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine. As many of you, our frontline healthcare workers have received the AstraZeneca vaccine the HSE have prepared the following information for you. 

The HSE have advised that the deferral is being put in place as a precautionary step, while further information about some reported adverse events is reviewed by the EMA, the European Medicines Agency.

As more information is available, the HSE have advises that they will keep all health workers informed.

Questions and Answers from the HSE 

Why has the use of AstraZeneca Vaccine been temporarily deferred? 

Following a new safety alert received late on 13th March (from Norway), and pending receipt of further information from the EMA, as a precaution, the National Immunisation Advisory Committee (NIAC) have recommended a temporary deferral of administration of COVID-19 Vaccine AstraZeneca® in Ireland. 

Pending further advice, the use of AstraZeneca vaccine will be temporarily deferred for the week commencing the 14th March 2021. 

The alert originated from the Norwegian Medicines Agency following four new reports of serious rare clotting, or thromboembolic, events, including some complicated by low platelet levels, or thrombocytopenia, in younger adults. These occurred after vaccination with COVID 19 Vaccine AstraZeneca. At this time, no link between the events and the vaccine have been confirmed.

The EMA is already investigating a number of reports of thromboembolic events from the AstraZeneca Vaccine and a report is expected over the coming days. 

EMA information from 12th March was that the number of clotting or thromboembolic events in vaccinated people is no higher than the number seen in the general population. As of 10 March 2021, 30 cases of thromboembolic events had been reported among close to 5 million people vaccinated with COVID-19 Vaccine AstraZeneca® in the European Economic Area. 

This vaccine along with the others, is a very important tool in our fight against COVID-19 disease. 

What should I do if I have an appointment today or in the next few days to receive COVID-19 Vaccine AstraZeneca® vaccine? 

You should not attend your appointment for COVID-19 Vaccine AstraZeneca® until you receive further contact from the HSE about the resumption of the programme. 

You should continue to follow all COVID-19 precautions in the meantime. 

Any appointments for a first or second dose of Pfizer or Moderna COVID-19 vaccine can still go ahead as they are not included in this safety alert. This includes appointments for people aged 70 and over who are being vaccinated by GPs.

What about my second dose of COVID-19 Vaccine AstraZeneca® vaccine? 

The recommended dose interval between the first and second dose of COVID-19 Vaccine AstraZeneca® is 12 weeks. There are no appointments scheduled for second doses at the present time. Further information will be provided about second doses as soon as it is available 

What should I do if I have already received COVID-19 Vaccine AstraZeneca® vaccine? 

The events reported are very rare, and we do not know if they are caused by the vaccine. This vaccine is a very important tool in our fight against COVID-19 disease. 

We know that side effects of COVID-19 Vaccine AstraZeneca® can occur within the first couple of days after receiving the vaccine. 

After the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine, more than 1 in 10 people may experience: 

· feeling tired 

· tenderness, bruising, pain, redness or itching in the arm where they 

· had the vaccine injection 

· headache 

· muscle pain 

· joint pain 

· nausea, diarrhoea or vomiting 

· fever (temperature of 38 degrees Celsius or above) 

More than 1 in 100 people may have redness or swelling where they had the injection. 

It’s common to develop a fever (temperature of 38 degrees Celsius or above) after any vaccination. This usually happens within 2 days (48 hours) of getting the vaccine. It usually goes away within 2 days. 

If you feel uncomfortable, take paracetamol or ibuprofen following the instructions on the box or leaflet.

What if I still feel unwell more than 3 days after my vaccine? 

People who have received the COVID-19 Vaccine AstraZeneca® and feel increasingly unwell for more than three days after vaccination, and/or who notice larger or smaller blue spots in the skin (purpuric, non-blanching rash, skin haemorrhages) should consult a doctor or out-of-hours medical service. 

The rare events that have been reported have usually occurred within 14 days of receiving the vaccine. And, it’s important to remember that there is no proven link between these events and the vaccine at this time.

What else should we remember?

COVID-19 is a serious disease which has caused significant disease and death across the world including Ireland. COVID-19 vaccines have been developed and authorised for use after rigorous testing and have a favourable safety profile. 

More than 100,000 doses of COVID-19 Vaccine AstraZeneca® have been used in Ireland so far, mainly in frontline healthcare workers, and we can already see the significant reduction in cases of COVID-19 disease in this group after the vaccine programme. 

What are the next steps?

Further information is expected from the EMA in the next few days, which will include a review of these additional events. This information will be reviewed by NIAC and further advice on the programme will be issued following this. The HSE has committed to keeping members updated and share information as it is available.

Read the Statement from the National Immunisation Advisory Committee (NIAC)

24/07/2019 Comments are off AideenC
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Podcast: Labour Court to issue recommendations within 10 working days

Listen back to SIPTU Health Division Organiser, Paul Bell on the Michael Reade Show discussing the outcome of Labour Court hearing aimed at resolving the dispute for support staff and chefs. Download the full show here.

10/09/2018 Comments are off AideenC
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Women’s rights activist Sylvia Meehan dies aged 89

Tributes have been paid to Irish women’s rights activist and trade unionist Sylvia Meehan, who has died aged 89.

Her death follows a long illness, the Irish Congress of Trade Unions (Ictu) has said.

Ms Meehan studied legal and political science at UCD, where she was the first woman to win the UCD Literary and Historical Association gold medal in 1951.

She began her career in teaching, becoming heavily involved with the Association of Secondary Teachers in Ireland trade union during her teaching years and the Women’s Committee of Ictu.

She served as the first chair and chief executive of the Employment Equality Authority, from its establishment in 1997 until 1992.

In 1977, she left teaching to become the first chief executive of the Employment Equality Agency, which was established to oversee the enforcement of the Employment Equality Act.She has been particularly credited with being instrumental in the movement towards achieving equal pay for women.

In more recent years, she served as President of the Irish Senior Citizens Parliament.

The President, Michael D Higgins, said her pioneering work on equality in education and employment had left a lasting legacy.

“In her life, Sylvia Meehan overcame many challenges, becoming a tenacious campaigner for workers’ rights, determined to promote the inclusion and empowerment of women, older people and all vulnerable sections of society.

“Her energy, vision and dynamism were directed at making Ireland a more empowering, informed and welcoming society.”

Ictu General Secretary Patricia King said Ms Meehan’s “pioneering work paved the way for a generation of feminists”.

“Sylvia believed that woman must demand their place at the negotiating table and encouraged greater participation by women in the trade union movement, in civic society and in politics,” said Ms King.

Director of the National Women’s Council of Ireland Orla O’Connor said Ms Meehan “will be a great loss not only for her family but for the women’s movement in Ireland.”

Minister for Equality, Immigration and Integration, David Stanton said he was “very saddened” to learn of Ms Meehan’s death.

“An inspiring role model and a campaigner for equality when it was far from fashionable, she has been hugely influential across a long career which spanned teaching, public service as the first Chair of the Employment Equality Agency, and advocacy,” he said.

“We take inspiration from her example as we continue to work for full gender equality. On behalf of Minister Flanagan and on my own behalf, I extend our deepest sympathies to Sylvia’s family and friends.”

Sinn Féin spokesman for workers’ rights David Cullinane said Ms Meehan was an “outstanding advocate and activist”.

Ms Meehan is survived by her five children, John, Niall, Sarah, Richard and Rosa.

This article was written by Áine McMahon for the Irish Times, September 6th, 2018

Congress Calls on Government to Restore Pay to Section 39 Workers

Today (Monday, September 3rd) ICTU General Secretary Patricia King has called on the Government to restore pay to Section 39 workers, in line with the public sector agreement. King has specifically called on the Minister for Finance and the Minister for Health to immediately make available resources to resolve the dispute.

“The workers in Section 39 Organisations had their pay cut in line with cuts imposed on workers in the public sector. Now that pay is being restored in the public sector workers in Section 39 Organisations should also receive the terms of the public sector pay agreement.”

Patricia King’s comments follow a meeting earlier today in which SIPTU, FÓRSA and UNITE confirmed that they would be consulting with members to consider what action is appropriate in light of the failure of Government to address the issue of pay restoration for workers in Section 39 Organisations.

31/08/2018 Comments are off AideenC
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The right to organise in a union will not be denied

The fight for workers’ right to organise in a union for the purposes of collective bargaining has been the key task for our organisation during its more than 100 years of existence.

Currently, SIPTU members are considering industrial action in relation to two companies where the employer has refused to adequately engage with their union. These companies are Rapid Action Packaging in Gweedore, County Donegal, and the Respond Housing Association.

In both cases, despite the companies being in receipt of public funds, management has ignored direction by the State’s industrial relations mechanisms to engage with union representatives.

Elsewhere, from the pharmacy chain Lloyds to retailers such a TK Maxx, employers are also refusing to respect workers’ right to collectively bargain as members of their union, Mandate.

In the early decades of the 20th Century the struggle for the right to union recognition resulted in titanic struggles such as the Great Dublin Lockout of 1913. Since then, most businesses realised that an attempt to deny workers the right to union recognition was a battle they were bound to lose, and so have desisted from such attempts.

From Ryanair to Lloyds Pharmacy, the battle for union recognition remains at the heart of the struggle by workers for fair and equal treatment. Both companies are hugely profitable concerns which, until now, have been reluctant to share those rewards with the workers who have made them possible.