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No vaccing down Health expert warns Ireland will be 'nowhere near' widespread vaccination by April

"If we come out of this lockdown and we don't have low enough case numbers, we can easily be heading quickly towards a fourth wave if - with this new variant - there's too much of it in the population.”

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Professor Tomas Ryan  (Screenshot from Oireachtas/TV)

Professor Tomas Ryan (Screenshot from Oireachtas/TV)

Professor Tomas Ryan (Screenshot from Oireachtas/TV)

A top health expert at Trinity College has warned that Ireland “will be nowhere near” widespread vaccination by April. 

Tomás Ryan, associate professor in the School of Biochemistry and Immunology, said that while Covid is “on its way out” it could take a lot longer than we think.

"We're talking about coming out of this lockdown in early April or late April,” he told Newstalk Breakfast.

“We will have nowhere near widespread vaccination by that point in time.

"If we come out of this lockdown and we don't have low enough case numbers, we can easily be heading quickly towards a fourth wave if - with this new variant - there's too much of it in the population.”

On Tuesday, Taoiseach Micheál Martin said over 80% of adults will have received the first dose of a Covid-19 vaccination by the end of June.

He said 1.25 million doses will have been administered by the end of March - then one million doses on average per month between April and June.

That will mean up to 40% of people over 18 will have received their first dose by the end of April, up to 64% by the end of May, and up to 82% by end of June.

But Prof Ryan said: "Even with the most ambitious targets by Micheál Martin - which are based on optimistic supply - we might have half the population having a single dose of the vaccine by the middle of June".

"Having half the population vaccinated by April, I don't think that's realistic.”

He also warned of "a very risky situation" where a lot of the population are vaccinated and others are not.

"Internationally, this is going to create the ideal situation for variants to emerge that are vaccine resistant."

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"Things are definitely improving, probably not [at] as fast a rate as some people would like.

"We're definitely seeing a lot of very heterogonous improvement in the sense that the 14-day average is looking really good in places like Cork, Kerry, Kilkenny and other counties.

"Whereas on the other side of the spectrum places like Dublin, Galway and Offaly cases are not really declining so much.

"This lockdown is a longer lockdown than any of us would have liked - that's almost certainly due to the B117 variant... which is now dominates in the population - which means it is going to be a slightly longer lockdown, or the alternative is we could find ways of going harder.”

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