Ireland could vaccinate 1 million a month if supplies arrive, HSE chief says

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Up to one million people per month could be vaccinated during quarter two this year if the ordered doses arrive into the country on time, the HSE chief executive has said.

“Once we get supply, we will deliver and administer it,” Paul Reid told Newstalk Breakfast.

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It was projected that 1.24 million people would be vaccinated by the end of March and this would be scaled up to 3.8million by the end of June, he said.

Last week 80,000 were vaccinated and 100,000 should be vaccinated this week, he said.

Mr Reid acknowledged that the fall in the number of Covid cases had plateaued, but good progress continued. The arrival of variants was a cause for concern.

“We are making progress and we have to keep up the effort,” he said.

The new variants were having an impact on young people as they were so transmissible. Mr Reid said it was not necessarily house parties that were causing the problem, but the “real risk factors” were going to a friend’s house to watch a sporting event or even just visiting for a cup of tea.

The emerging variants will always be a cause for concern, he said.

There were strengthened testing and tracing measures for the new variants with a dedicated centre in UCD specifically for such cases.

Ireland

People with certain conditions to be moved up in v…

Mr Reid said that the introduction of mandatory quarantine would help, but it was a complex issue that required legislation. It would help and was “another tool in the tool box,” but the key factor remained what was happening in the community.

Having vaccination centres and the addition of GPs, and eventually the rollout of the vaccine through pharmacies, would all have an impact, he said.

Separately, people with serious underlying medical conditions are set to be moved up the prioritisation list for vaccinations. A group of people aged 18-64 – running into hundreds of thousands – had been placed seventh among groups listed in the sequencing of the rollout.

Not everyone in this category will be moved up the list but those with certain underlying conditions most at risk of a severe illness if they contract Covid-19 will be prioritised.

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