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jab latest Vaccination rates drop at weekends with just 1,100 given on Easter Sunday 

The HSE insists the administration of vaccines at weekends is constrained by supply

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A close to empty vaccination centre in Citywest, Dublin. Photo: Gareth Chaney/Collins

A close to empty vaccination centre in Citywest, Dublin. Photo: Gareth Chaney/Collins

A close to empty vaccination centre in Citywest, Dublin. Photo: Gareth Chaney/Collins

It was a Good Friday – but not such a good Easter Sunday.

New figures reveal that just over 1,100 people were vaccinated on Easter Sunday while HSE vaccination rates are seen to drop off substantially at weekends.

Fewer than 10,000 people were inoculated against Covid-19 last weekend after the HSE hit a record 31,011 jabs administered in a single day on Good Friday.

An Irish Independent analysis shows that throughout March and the first week of April, weekend vaccination rates fell significantly compared to the rest of the week.

Last Saturday, a total of 8,652 people were given vaccines, while on Sunday just 1,115 jabs were given out, including just 31 second doses.

Between March 1 and April 4 on average, 17,016 doses per day were administered between Mondays and Fridays, but just 5,598 doses per day were given on weekends.

The HSE insists the administration of vaccines at weekends is constrained by supply, with sources in the health service also pointing to fewer GPs and GP clinics operating at weekends.

While insisting that 95pc of available vaccines are administered within seven days of arrival in Ireland, the HSE has been unable to say exactly how many doses are being held on a weekly basis as a buffer in case of supply disruption.

Previous HSE comments that a buffer stock of all next week’s scheduled doses of Pfizer, the most frequently used vaccine, is kept in reserve, suggest that more than 80,000 Pfizer doses are being held back each week.

In addition, around 20,000 Moderna doses are held back for contractual reasons.

Despite the notable drop-off at weekends, the HSE has now administered in excess of 125,000 doses per week over the last fortnight.

But analysis shows that there was a consistent trend across the month of March and the first week of April whereby the vast majority of vaccine doses were given out during the week.

In the first five weekdays of March, 71,665 vaccines were administered, with just 10,468 doses administered on the first weekend of last month.

Fewer than 10,000 vaccines were administered on each of the two subsequent weekends before a substantial ramping up on the weekend of March 27-28 saw 17,711 doses administered. But the numbers of doses administered last weekend fell to just 9,767.

The data was compiled from the HSE’s vaccination programme dashboard which publishes daily charts with updated figures for the previous seven days.

The figures for last weekend are likely to be revised upwards in the coming days, but analysis over the last two months indicates that only a few hundred extra doses will be added to the figures for last Saturday and Sunday.

In a statement the HSE said: “The data clearly shows that all available vaccine is being issued within days of being delivered into the country.

"So to increase the numbers of vaccinations taking place on, say, a Saturday or Sunday would require a decrease in the numbers on other days.

“We are expecting vaccine supply to increase over the coming months and we will use as many locations, hours of the day and days of the week required to ensure we administer vaccines as fast as we receive them.”

The response is identical to that issued by the HSE last month when the Irish Independent reported that in February, on average 7,000 fewer vaccines per day were being administered on weekends and Mondays compared to the rest of the week.

Meanwhile, new figures published by Health Minister Stephen Donnelly yesterday show that 3.9m vaccines are expected to be delivered between now and the end of June, including 929,000 in April, 1.25m in May and 1.75m in June.


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