Monday, April 05, 2021

Independent TD Matt Shanahan. Photo: Joe Evans

AN immediate national strategy to implement Vitamin D supplementation has been suggested by Independent Waterford TD Matt Shanahan.

“There is growing evidence to suggest the important role Vitamin D plays in providing defence and protection against the ravages of Covid-19,” said Deputy Shanahan in a statement this morning.

“A growing number of intervention studies appear to show lower likelihood of SARS – CoV -2 infection in those who have taken Vitamin D supplements and also lower disease severity in those who have taken Vitamin D supplements immediately preceeding or shortly after becoming infected.”

Deputy Shanahan said it is “not uncommon for people to have levels of Vitamin D far lower than the 50 nmol/l threshold at which immunological health is enhanced.  Deficiency can be greater in vulnerable groups with 67 per cent of nursing home patients in the west of Ireland and 93 per cent of South East Asian immigrant populations in Dublin with blood levels under this 50nmol/l threshold.”

He suggested: “There are a body of medical professionals in Ireland who now believe that Vitamin D has a key part to play in immune and respiratory health and many are now supplementing their daily intake much like renowned US disease specialist Professor Anthony Fauci.  In addition, some medical specialists in Ireland believe low Vitamin D levels in Covid patients can provide a diagnostic for increased risk of covid disease progression.”

Deputy Shanahan claimed that the evidence about Vitamin D “continues to be ignored by Nphet as a possible mitigating therapy and a possible prophylactic to severe Covid symptoms. This comes as no surprise to me given I was one of first deputies to call for face mask usage in Ireland in 2020 despite Nphet refusing to recommend their use for months as well as seeing Antigen test technology which I provided to Nphet seniors in June 2020 being largely ignored until recent days.”

He continued: “Significant anecdotal and clinical data now supports the role of Vitamin D in combating Covid-19. It appears Nphet continues to ignore this despite the safety of supplementation and the minimal costs involved. Their ‘go-to’ reasoning of requiring large scale randomised trial data to support such an initiative ignores the ‘war footing’ we are now on in Ireland and the economic and social havoc Covid 19 is causing. It also ignores the very real risks to our population and our opening up strategy should a new variant arrive and bypass our present vaccine technology.”

Calling on the Government “to immediately consider a supplementation strategy for Vitamin D for all vulnerable groups,” Deputy Shanahan suggested as vat reductions and tax deductions to “the general population to assist purchase of Vitamin D supplements…I would ask Government to provide support to GPs to assist such a roll out, which for many can be accomplished remotely.”

Matt Shanahan said: “We cannot ignore the damage that Covid has done in Ireland, some which occurred because of our ignorance to look at the wide-ranging evidence before us. Similar evidence is now building to support Vitamin D intervention for Covid-19.”

He concluded: “Political leaders cannot ignore such evidence and the opportunity it presents to implement a safe, proactive countermeasure. Politicians must act now regardless of the resistance of a small group of thought leaders who default to a strategy of ‘first do no harm’ rather than ‘first do some good’!”

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