A further seven mass vaccination centres are to open this week and pharmacies will begin administering vaccines later this month, an Oireachtas Joint Committee on Health will hear later today.
The new vaccination centres will bring the total number in operation to 26. It is planned that there will eventually be 37 centres are set to eventually open depending on supply and demand, the Health Committee will hear, with today's seven new centres bringing the total number in operation to 26.
The Health Committee will hear from HSE Clinical Officer, Dr Colm Henry, and Chair of the National Immunisation Advisory Council (NIAC), Professor Karina Butler about the further details of the national vaccination programme.
According to RTÉ, health officials have circulated details of the age cohorts and the date of each vaccination administration:
- People aged 60-69 are set to receive their second vaccination dose at the end of July.
- It is believed people younger 59 are due to receive a first dose of a vaccine in early May including key workers for the vaccination programme.
- For vulnerable people at risk of Covid-19 aged between 16 to 59, it is expected that their vaccination will also begin in early May according to the submission to the committee.
Yesterday, vaccinations for people aged between 65 to 69 began with 85,000 people from this age group already registered online to receive the jab.
The plan is expected to exclude Johnson & Johnson's vaccine, the roll-out of which has been put on hold due to concerns of blood clotting events in the US.
Last night at a National Public Health Emergency Team (Nphet) briefing, deputy chief medical officer Dr Ronan Glynn said no recommendations on extending the interval between Covid vaccine doses will be made until further clarity on the Johnson & Johnson vaccine is provided.
Health Minister Stephen Donnelly has asked health experts to look into extending the gap between jabs in order to vaccinate a greater number of people with the first dose in a shorter timeframe.
But Dr Glynn said Nphet has not provided any updated advice and "there is no point" in doing so at the moment.
"Any advice that we would provide, or any recommendations that either ourselves or Niac (National Immunisation Advisory Committee) would make in relation to this would need to take into account the impact on the programme," he said.