Not realistic to have half the population vaccinated by April, leading immunologist warns

Prof Tomás Ryan of TCD: 'Realistically half the population might have had a single dose of the vaccine by the end of June'
Not realistic to have half the population vaccinated by April, leading immunologist warns

Prof Tomás Ryan says that while Covid-19 was "on its way out”, it could be some time before a widespread vaccination programme was completed. File Picture: Nick Potts/PA Wire

It is not realistic for the Government to think that half the population would be vaccinated by the end of April, a leading Immunologist Professor has warned. 

Professor Tomás Ryan of Trinity College Dublin said that even with the most ambitious targets set by the Taoiseach, it was not realistic to think that half the population would be vaccinated by April.

"Realistically half the population might have had a single dose of the vaccine by the end of June," he told Newstalk Breakfast.

Prof Ryan said that while Covid-19 was "on its way out”, it could be some time before a widespread vaccination programme was completed.

If we come out of this lockdown and we don't have low enough case numbers, we could easily be heading quickly towards a fourth wave. 

He said there was too much of a presence of the new variant in the population at the moment.

He said that having half the population vaccinated by April could present "a very risky situation" which would be ideal for variants to emerge that were vaccine-resistant.

However, he acknowledged that some aspects were improving, but not at as fast a rate as some would like.

Prof Ryan said the 14-day average was "looking good" in places like Cork, Kerry, Kilkenny and other counties, but not declining in Dublin, Galway and Offaly.

“This lockdown is a longer lockdown than any of us would have liked - that's almost certainly due to the B117 variant which is now dominant in the population - which means it is going to be a slightly longer lockdown, or the alternative is we could find ways of going harder,” he said.

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