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Jab latest Mass vaccination centres may run round-the-clock if supplies arrive here as planned

The proposal to have some vaccination centres running round-the-clock has been put to the HSE by the National Public Health Emergency Team (Nphet).

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Alison Smith who is a member of the  National Ambulance  IRT [ Incidence Responce Team ] administers  he Pfizer vaccine to Advance paramedic Joe Mooney at the Major Emergency tent. Picture Credit:Frank McGrath

Alison Smith who is a member of the National Ambulance IRT [ Incidence Responce Team ] administers he Pfizer vaccine to Advance paramedic Joe Mooney at the Major Emergency tent. Picture Credit:Frank McGrath

Alison Smith who is a member of the National Ambulance IRT [ Incidence Responce Team ] administers he Pfizer vaccine to Advance paramedic Joe Mooney at the Major Emergency tent. Picture Credit:Frank McGrath

MASS vaccination centres may run on a 24-hour basis if supplies of Covid-19 jabs escalate, it emerged yesterday.

The proposal to have some vaccination centres running round-the-clock has been put to the HSE by the National Public Health Emergency Team (Nphet).

Nphet asked the HSE whether it is in a position to extend or scale up the roll-out of vaccinations in line with supply to include "for example the provision of 24-hour mass vaccination centres".

The HSE replied that the only restriction currently to its roll-out is "vaccine supply and people not presenting for vaccination".

It said "vaccine roll-out will be extended as needed to keep pace with supply", minutes of a recent Nphet meeting reveal.

It comes as the Department of Health is assessing the latest revamped vaccination plan from the HSE which aims to continue the current policy of basing it on descending age.

It would mean that people in their 50s, who can apply over the coming week, would not have to wait for supplies of Johnson & Johnson vaccines to come through in June and could be given Pfizer, Moderna and AstraZeneca ­vaccines.

Blood clots

Younger age groups could later be offered Johnson & Johnson or AstraZeneca vaccines under the plan, although it is unclear if this applies to people in their 30s because of the very low risk of very rare blood clots.

The final plan has to be given the go-ahead by the chief medical officer Dr Tony Holohan.

The National Immunisation Advisory Committee (Niac) previously advised both AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson vaccines be confined to the over-50s, but the experts allowed for flexibility in younger groups based on availability of other vaccines.

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According to Nphet, vaccination will significantly and quickly reduce the risk of the virus over a short period of time from May to August.

It will radically reduce the risk of death when all those over 70 years are fully vaccinated.

But it will have a smaller effect on hospitalisations and critical care until the wider adult population, especially vulnerable adults and those aged 50-69, are protected by vaccination.

This smaller effect on hospitalisations is due to the link between age and risk.

While the risk of dying is low for those under 65, the risk of hospitalisation and admission to intensive care remains significant for younger age groups.

Therefore the protection of those aged 70 and over through vaccination will greatly reduce deaths, but will have a lesser effect on numbers hospitalised or admitted to intensive care.

Meanwhile, the Government has signed up to a new €191m deal to buy almost 10 million more doses of Pfizer vaccines.

The deal agreed with the EU will see enough vaccines delivered to Ireland to fully vaccinate 4.9m people over a two-year period.

Covid-19 Variants

The deal will see 4.9m doses delivered next year and the same amount in 2023.

The Government also has the option to double the order to almost 19.6m doses in the same two-year period.

Health Minister Stephen Donnelly told the Cabinet the extra doses were being bought to ensure Ireland had a supply in the coming years to tackle new variants and to give people booster shots if needed.

The deal was struck with Pfizer as the pharmaceutical company has committed to developing a new vaccine which can be stored at normal refrigeration temperatures.

Mr Donnelly also told Cabinet he expected between 220,000 and 240,000 vaccines to be administered this week.

This included GPs vaccinating 50,000 people aged over 70 and between 40,000 and 50,000 of those in the high-risk group.

He said the HSE also planned to administer vaccine doses to between 130,000 and 140,000 people aged between 60 and 69.

Some 455,228 people aged over 70 have been given their first dose, while 259,151 in that age group are fully vaccinated.

More than 202,400 people from the very high-risk group have received their first dose.

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