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corona battle The rollout of the Covid-19 vaccine is going to be a 'rocky road', HSE CEO Paul Reid has warned

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Mr Reid said there are complications around the vaccine supply

Mr Reid said there are complications around the vaccine supply

Mr Reid said there are complications around the vaccine supply

An announcement is expected early this afternoon from the EMA on whether to give full approval to the AstraZeneca vaccine, including to over 65s.

If it gets the go-ahead, the vaccine from AstraZeneca would be the third in Europe added to the arsenal in the battle against Covid-19.

But as a row is rumbling on between the manufacturer and the European Commission about supply and delivery commitments.

The Health Service Executive said at its weekly briefing yesterday that it will listen to the decision from the European Medicines Agency (EMA) after a German vaccination committee recommended the AstraZeneca vaccine should not be used in people aged over 65.

The committee cited insufficient data on this cohort of people, and instead said it should only be given to those in the 18-64 age group.

Mr Reid told Newstalk Breakfast that while waiting for a decision to be made, the HSE can only offer “uncertainty” at the moment due to the complications around vaccine supply.

“Where everyone is looking for predictability, certainty and clarity, all we can give at the moment is uncertainty,” he said.

The EU has been locked in a row with AstraZeneca, which partnered with Britain's Oxford University to develop its vaccine, after the drug maker said last week it would cut deliveries in the first quarter due to production issues at a Belgian factory.

However, Mr Reid said some other European countries have also seen supply issues from other vaccine suppliers.

While Mr Reid said that while there has been a rocky start in many ways, they'll be able to provide more clarity as the programme progresses.

He said: “This will get stronger and a bit clearer as more vaccines emerge.

"But we have to be frank and say we’re living with a bit of uncertainty for now."

He said plans remain on track to vaccinate frontline health workers and care home staff and residents, and described the take-up as “phenomenal”.

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