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Virtual Assembly with Professor Luke O’Neill

March 24, 2021

We had a very special visitor at our 5th and 6th class virtual assembly today. Professor Luke O’Neill from Trinity College Dublin joined us to talk to us about Covid 19. We learnt lots of interesting facts and he answered all of our questions.

Fayomade from Ms O’Halloran’s class asked him “Why did you want to become a scientist?” Luke said he had great teachers in primary school and became really interested in Science in 6th class. He did Biology for Leaving Certificate and it was his favourite subject. He then went onto to do his degree in Science. After his degree he went onto study immunology. He loves Science because of the new discoveries and medicines that are constantly being made.

Sophie from Mr Ryan’s class asked Luke “What do you miss most about lock down?” Luke said he misses meeting up with his friends, going to the cinema and not being able to visit his mother-in-law because she is in a nursing home. He thinks children have been brilliant and made so many sacrifices during lock down and he praised all of the boys and girls in St. Declan’s for the part they have played keeping their family and friends safe.

Eva from Ms Jenkinson’s class asked Luke “Which vaccine is the best and how long do you think it will take to get everyone in Ireland vaccinated?” Luke said we currently have nine vaccines on the market and that they are all of equal ability. We don’t have a choice in Ireland which vaccine we are offered at the moment. Luke thinks by the end of June we will have made very good progress in terms of the vaccination. The EU are hoping to have everyone over the age of 21 vaccinated by October 2021.

Jake from Mr Melia’s class asked Luke “Can you still transmit Covid 19 if you have the vaccine?” Luke said they are still researching that but it’s looking likely if people are vaccinated there will be less if no chance of them transmitting it as the vaccine is very powerful.

Aaron from Ms O’Donnell’s Class asked Luke “Could a virus like Covid 19 happen again?! Luke said yes it could but that we have learnt so much from this experience and we know now how quickly we can roll out vaccines that he would be very confident that we could deal with any future viruses that may come along.

Sophie from Ms Quinlan’s class asked Luke “Where do you see us this time next year?” Luke said he is very positive about the future. He knows we will beat this virus because Science has the ability to beat it. What we have to do now is to reduce the key number and this will take the pressure off our hospitals. He’s hopeful we will be back to some form of normality by this October.

Daisy from Ms O’Connor’s class asked Luke “Will all primary school children be vaccinated?” Luke said that there are currently four big trials taking place on children under the age of sixteen to see how they react to the vaccine. It’s safer to roll the vaccine out in the adult population first. But they hope to vaccinate all children after adults get their vaccine.

We were so impressed with Luke and he was extremely optimistic about the future. He has a new Science book out at the minute called The Great Irish Science Book. We are going to purchase it for our library in St. Declan’s. We were very grateful to Luke for taking the time to talk to us today. Who knows maybe in the future some of our children from St. Declan’s may go on to become scientists.