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Pharmacies inundated after scramble from 18-34s following jab roll-out news


One pharmacist by lunchtime yesterday already had bookings from 1,250 people. Stock photo

One pharmacist by lunchtime yesterday already had bookings from 1,250 people. Stock photo

One pharmacist by lunchtime yesterday already had bookings from 1,250 people. Stock photo

Thousands of people aged 18 to 34 who want a Johnson and Johnson Covid-19 vaccine in a pharmacy from next week will be put on a waiting list because of limited supply.

Pharmacists were overwhelmed with calls yesterday after it was announced people in this age group, who opt for the one-shot vaccine, can get one in around 750 pharmacies across the country.

However, Darragh O’Loughlin, head of the Irish Pharmacy Union, asked that young people “bear with us” as they work through the demand with limited supply.

“Pharmacies have been told they will get around 50 vaccines each by the end of next week,” he said. However, one pharmacist already had bookings from 1,250 people by lunchtime yesterday.

He said there are around 40,000 vaccines spread across 750 pharmacists, but some have no more stocks because they have already given them to over-50s.

“At this stage, every dose that is in a pharmacy is already accounted for. People are leaving their names and numbers. Pharmacists are overwhelmed with demand,” Mr O’Loughlin said.

All supplies of the vaccine for this age group should be given to pharmacists and not diverted to vaccination centres, he added.

A list of participating pharmacists is on the HSE website, but people may have to travel to get their jab because not all pharmacists are involved.

From July 12, the HSE plans to invite this age group to register for an AstraZeneca or Johnson and Johnson jab at a vaccination centre.

The move comes in a bid to speed up the roll-out of the vaccine amid warnings of a wave of the highly-infectious Delta variant that will grow exponentially in August.

The hope is that if more people are protected earlier, it will bring it under control in September.

Health Minister Stephen Donnelly said yesterday that more than 4.1 million doses of vaccine have now been administered since the programme began in December.

Around 65.2pc of adults have received a single dose, while 44.5pc have been fully vaccinated.

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However, the Delta variant poses the highest risk to people who are unvaccinated or who have received just one dose of a two-dose vaccine.

The minister said the number of people in the 18 to 34 year age group amounts to 800,000, “comprising approximately 550,000 from the 18 to 29 age group and about 250,000 from the 30 to 34 age group”.

The HSE portal inviting people aged 30 to 34 to apply for a vaccine opens next Friday, beginning with 34-year-olds.

“The number of vaccines we have available and in our line of sight for July includes approximately 205,000 Johnson and Johnson vaccines and 100,000 AstraZeneca vaccines,” Mr Donnelly said.

“AstraZeneca is contracted to deliver significantly more than that, but that is what we have in our line of sight and confirmed right now.

“Essentially, through July, we have between 300,000 and 305,000 vaccines, but we have no confirmation from AstraZeneca for August.”

The daily number of cases of the virus climbed to 512 yesterday, a 25pc increase in daily infections compared with the same day last week. It is up 38pc in two weeks. The number of patients with the virus in hospital is up by two to 46, with no change in the 14 patients in intensive care.

The Delta variant, which is easier to catch, accounts for around 70pc of cases now, but it will be the main form here in two to three weeks’ time.

Buncrana in Co Donegal and Dungarvan, Co Waterford, are the two national hotspots for Covid-19, with nearly six times the national 14-day incidence.

The national 14-day incidence is 107 per 100,000.

However, it is as high as 608.1 per 100,000 in Buncrana and 600.1 per 100,000 in Dungarvan.

The next highest is Carndonagh, Co Donegal, where it is 489.3 per 100,000. Other high areas are Athlone, north and east Limerick city and areas of west Dublin.

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