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Jab latest Target of having 82pc vaccinated in June will be missed – HSE

Yesterday, HSE officials said they were unable to say if it will meet the target as it faced yet another setback in AstraZeneca vaccine supply deliverie

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Used vaccine vials that contained Covid-19 vaccines. Photo: Getty Images

Used vaccine vials that contained Covid-19 vaccines. Photo: Getty Images

Used vaccine vials that contained Covid-19 vaccines. Photo: Getty Images

The political target to have 82pc of the adult population with at least one dose of Covid-19 vaccine by the end of June looks set to now stretch well into July.

Yesterday, HSE officials said they were unable to say if it will meet the target as it faced yet another setback in AstraZeneca vaccine supply deliveries which will affect the speed of the roll-out of the jab to people aged 65-69.

Speaking at the Oireachtas Health Committee, Damian McCallion, who oversees the vaccine roll-out for the HSE, said he was “not in a position at the moment” to confirm if the June target would be achieved. This is mostly to do with issues of supply.

“There’s a very immediate effect of that into the next couple of weeks,” Mr McCallion said.

He was quizzed on how soon the administration of 250,000 doses a week – promised from April – would begin.

Mr McCallion said the capacity to reach 250,000 jabs a week is in place through hospitals, vaccination centres and pharmacists, but supply levels are preventing that from happening.

“We will get to those figures. We will need to get to those,” he added.

“But I’m just saying that at the moment, our constraint really is we do not have the supply that would allow us to test the system we were hoping to get there.

“We were hoping to get to the door with a 200,000 mark in the coming weeks, but we just will not have the supply to achieve that at the moment.”

The HSE is expecting to receive 800,000 vaccines across all providers in April, around 1.4 million in May and 1.6 million in June.

However, it was informed by AstraZeneca yesterday that its delivery of 45,000 this week will only amount to 9,000.

There will also be a delay of three days in 165,000 doses due on Friday week.

Internal market commissioner Thierry Breton said Ireland would receive enough vaccines for 70pc of adults by mid-July.

The HSE is hoping that it can use 600,000 doses of Johnson & Johnson single-shot vaccine due this quarter despite the European Medicines Agency saying yesterday there was a possible link with a very rare chance of a blood clot.

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The National Immunisation Advisory Committee (Niac) will make recommendations on its use but there are hopes the same restrictions which confine the AstraZeneca vaccine to the over-60s will not apply.

Asked when the target of 250,000 doses administered a week will be met, Mr McCallion said around 140,000 to 160,000 doses would be given this week.

He said there were various issues around supply and also the need to hold back doses as buffers for second doses.

People aged 60 to 69 will only be offered the AstraZeneca vaccine.

Questioned by Social Democrat TD Róisín Shortall about advice on vaccination for pregnant women, Prof Karina Butler, chair of Niac, said further guidelines around this were being drawn up.

It is currently recommended for women with underlying conditions but not routinely recommended.

However, there is growing evidence around the vaccine’s safety.

She indicated the new guidelines involve examining if pregnant women should be singled out as a group for the vaccine because pregnancy is time limited.

HSE clinical director Dr Colm Henry said 95pc of people aged over 70 would have received a vaccine this week. Asked about housebound over-70s, he said around 1,600 of this group had been vaccinated so far and around 300 were left.

Prof Butler said they were still examining whether the gap between the first and second dose of Pfizer and Moderna could be extended.

Meanwhile, the Cabinet heard yesterday up to 800 vaccinators are needed for April and May and more than this have been recruited.

A pilot involving 15 community pharmacies will be launched by the end of this month to test operational arrangements ahead of pharmacists being used in the roll-out.


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