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slow jab People in their 30s to wait up to a month for vaccine appointment after registration

The portal for people aged 35-39 opens from Sunday

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Covid-19 vaccine

Covid-19 vaccine

Damien McCallion

Damien McCallion

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Covid-19 vaccine

The Covid-19 vaccination roll-out will slow down next month as people in their 30s could wait for up to a month after they register for the jab.

It comes amid concern a rise in the Delta variant here could hit large numbers of young people who are unvaccinated.

There is concern that if unvaccinated people take holidays abroad and mingle in pubs and restaurants when they come home, the more infectious variant will take a greater hold.

HSE chief Paul Reid said yesterday that while he expected July to be a “strong month”, the numbers administered a dose weekly would be down to between 200,000 and 220,000, with many getting second doses.

Vaccinations have hit a peak, with 330,000 getting a jab this week and 300,000 scheduled for next week.

However, from early next month, the HSE will dispense with AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson vaccines due to age restrictions and will rely on Pfizer and Moderna vaccines.

“Pfizer accelerated supplies due in quarter three to quarter two so as we move into July the supply drops down,” Mr Reid said.

The vaccination portal opens for people aged 35 to 39 on Sunday, beginning with those aged 39.

There are around 710,000 people in the 30 to 39 year age group, making it the biggest age cohort yet to be vaccinated.

Damien McCallion, who oversees the roll-out for the HSE, said people who register for a vaccine were normally told to expect an appointment in two to three weeks.

However, for people in their 30s, this could be three to four weeks because of their higher numbers.

To date, 3.45 million vaccines have been administered, with 2.3 million given a first dose and 1.2 million fully vaccinated. It means around 31pc of adults are fully vaccinated.

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Full vaccination with two doses looks increasingly like it will open up a summer of more opportunity for people.

Foreign travel will be available from mid-July and there will be mass gatherings around entertainment and sport piloted here.

HSE chief clinical officer Dr Colm Henry said the majority of cases, around 66pc, in the past two weeks remained in the under-35 age group.

Only a very small number were 65 or over, “showing the protective effect of the vaccines against infection, especially in the more vulnerable”.

He said Ireland was now among the top five countries in the EU for uptake of at least one dose of vaccine in the adult population.

After two doses of the Pfizer vaccine, there is 96pc protection against hospitalisation with the Delta variant, while it is 92pc effective after a second dose of the AstraZeneca jab.

There have been 188 cases of the Delta variant detected in Ireland so far, but its spread appears to have slowed down.

“A person who has had prior infection or has received one dose of the Covid-19 vaccine will be partially protected,” Dr Henry said.

“A fully vaccinated person has the best and longest protection against infection from Delta and other variants of concern.”

The HSE said yesterday that, so far, 92pc of people in their 60s had received one vaccine and 14pc were fully vaccinated.

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Damian McCallion

Damian McCallion

Damian McCallion

Among people in their 50s, around 87pc have received one dose and 28pc are fully vaccinated with two.

This is because they are getting the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines with a 28-day gap between doses.

Roughly 61pc of people in their 40s have had a first dose and 14pc are fully vaccinated.

Around 800 pharmacists are offering one-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccines to the over-50s and will operate the scheme for around three months.

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