Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly has been urged to include recommendations on taking vitamin D supplements in the revised “Living with Covid-19” strategy, due for launch later this month.

Fine Gael TD Emer Higgins called on Mr Donnelly to be “brave enough” to make a decision to recommend people start taking vitamin D instead of waiting for additional evidence “that may come too late” for patients in intensive care with the virus.

In the Dáil last week, she raised evidence cited by the Covit-D Consortium, a group of senior scientists, clinicians and academics specialising in research in this area, which they believe shows vitamin D can help prevent or treat Covid-19 by boosting the immune system.

Last November, the department advised older people to take daily vitamin D supplements of 15 micrograms for their bone and muscle health. A study it commissioned by the Food Safety Authority of Ireland found insufficient evidence to support claims it was beneficial in dealing with Covid-19.

Last week, in a letter to the Minister, chief medical officer Dr Tony Holohan said National Public Health Emergency Team had reviewed the evidence for the role of vitamin D in favourable outcomes for those infected with Covid-19. While it found that there was “circumstantial evidence … to suggest an association, to date there is insufficient high-quality evidence to support any change to existing recommendations”.

But Ms Higgins, a Dublin Mid-West TD, said the consortium which specialises in vitamin D research, “was not even consulted by Hiqa (Health Inspection and Quality Authority) ahead of its recommendations to Nphet.

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