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shorter interval Under 50s who had Covid within nine months will not get second AstraZeneca dose, Simon Donnelly says

A shorter gap of eight weeks before the first and second doses of AstraZeneca vaccine for 400,000 people will be also phased in

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Health Minister Stephen Donnelly

Health Minister Stephen Donnelly

Health Minister Stephen Donnelly

The shorter gap of eight weeks before the first and second doses of AstraZeneca vaccine for 400,000 people will be phased in with uncertainty still over supplies of the jab, Health Minister Stephen Donnelly said today.

It also emerged that the National Immunisation Advisory Committee (Niac) advised that healthy people under 50 who had a confirmed case of coronavirus within nine months of getting their first AstraZeneca vaccine will not need a second dose.

Mr Donnelly said: "The reduction in the length of the interval between doses of this vaccine will benefit in excess of 400,000 people who are waiting on a second dose and who will now get the protection of being fully vaccinated earlier.

“This will be phased in – the coming fortnight will see those who are due their vaccine as part of a 12 week schedule, receive their second dose of vaccine.

"We will then implement a graduated reduction so the interval will reduce to 11, 10, 9 and then 8 weeks.”

He was speaking after meeting HSE officials following a recommendation by Niac that the gap of twelve weeks between doses be reduced to eight in order to provide people with better defence against the Indian variant known as Delta.

He said that further detailed planning on this aspect of the Covid-19 vaccination programme will take place over the weekend.

Mr Donnelly said he met with HSE chief Paul Reid and Brian Maccraith, chair of the High-Level Task Force on the COVID-19 Vaccination programme .

However, the exact timing of the reduction will be contingent on deliveries of the vaccine.

“Right now we only have confirmed volumes for the next two weeks. I’ve spoken with the company, while there has also been contact with them from the Taoiseach and the taskforce in recent days to emphasise the urgency and importance of contracted supplies arriving as agreed” Mr Donnelly added.

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