Vaccination of people over 70 to begin next month

Health Minister Stephen Donnelly said the start of the community vaccination programme in February is subject to the regulatory approval of AstraZeneca.
Vaccination of people over 70 to begin next month

Under the Vaccine Allocation Strategy, people aged 70 and older will be vaccinated in the following order: 85 and older, 80-84, 75-79, 70-74.

Vaccination of the third group in the Government's Vaccine Allocation Strategy will begin next month.

Under the strategy, people aged 70 and older will be vaccinated in the following order: 85 and older, 80-84, 75-79, 70-74.

Health Minister Stephen Donnelly said the start of the community vaccination programme in February is subject to the regulatory approval of AstraZeneca.

Mr Donnelly said Ireland will receive a delivery of the AstraZeneca vaccine within the expected range for February despite the anticipated disruption to deliveries announced last week.

It is expected the delivery in March will be more impacted and will be considerably lower than was originally stated by the company.

The Health Minister said the most vulnerable in our society will continue to be prioritised against the backdrop of limited supply.

"For the moment, people do not need to take any specific action. The next stage of our vaccine programme will begin with those aged 85 years and older and will be administered initially through GPs in their surgeries," said Mr Donnelly.

"The HSE is preparing a public information campaign that will provide all necessary details in advance and ensure that everyone knows when, where and how to access their vaccine."

Up to January 24, the HSE administered 143,000 vaccine doses.

Mr Donnelly said every possible nursing home resident has received one dose while some have received their second dose.

"Healthcare workers are also a priority. Second doses will be administered over the coming weeks to 77,000 healthcare workers.

"We will continue to roll out first and second doses to our remaining frontline healthcare workers during February."

Some nursing home residents and staff who had Covid-19 recently were unable to receive the vaccine. Vaccination teams were also unable to vaccinate in some facilities where there were particularly large outbreaks.

As we have seen in recent days, in these early stages things can change quickly and we have to build delivery around supply.

"Everyone involved understands the importance of this programme to the country. Everything that can be done is being done, and will be done, to deliver it."

Mr Donnelly confirmed his commitment to providing the public with daily figures for vaccine administration but said the HSE has advised that there is a backlog of figures to be inputted and validated.

"It is working hard to achieve full utilisation of the vaccination IT system at which point it will be in a position to provide updates."

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