The Government will be able to give a timeline to people next week as to when all age groups can expect to receive their first dose of Covid vaccine, the Health Minister has said.
Stephen Donnelly said he intends to bring a revamped plan for the rollout of the vaccine to Cabinet ministers next week.
He also said he wants to see pharmacists being incorporated into the rollout of the vaccine, so that people can go to their local pharmacy to receive the jab.
The Department of Health is awaiting updated advice based on recommendations from the National Immunisation Advisory Committee (Niac) about the use of the Astra Zeneca and Johnson & Johnson jabs in various age cohorts, in particular those under the age of 50.
At present, Astra Zeneca and the Johnson & Johnson jabs are not being given to those under the age of 50 due to concerns over a rare blood clotting issue.
Mr Donnelly said he expects to receive NIAC’s updated recommendation in the coming days.
“As soon as we have that advice from NIAC, I will discuss it with the chief medical officer, with the department, I will bring a recommendation to Government,” he said.
“And once we have that we will be able to be more accurate in terms of when each of the age cohorts can expect to start getting their first doses.”
Meanwhile, over 250,000 Covid-19 vaccine doses have been administered in one week in Ireland for the first time.
The latest figures from Government's vaccine data dashboard show that, in the week leading up to Monday, May 10, some 260,735 were given out.
The government hopes to surpass that total this week and is aiming to administer at least a quarter of a million doses every week for the foreseeable future.
In February, Taoiseach Micheal Martin said it was the government’s target to have given 82% of Irish people over the age of 16 their first vaccine dose by June 30.
Earlier this month, Health Minister Stephen Donnelly revised this figure down to 80%.
By June 30, the Government is also aiming to have fully vaccinated approximately 55% of people over the age of 16.
In total, 1,882 635 doses of the Covid-19 had been administered here up to Monday - 1,376,583 people (35.2% of the population) have received their first jab, and 506,052 people (12.9% of the population) have got their second.
Mr Donnelly said the new one-week total was "another big milestone" in the country’s vaccination programme.
🚨Another big milestone in our COVID-19 vaccine programme.— Stephen Donnelly (@DonnellyStephen) May 12, 2021
In the seven days to Monday we administered over a quarter of a million vaccine doses (260k) for the first time @HSELive pic.twitter.com/QnUh3Yk0jp
Last Friday alone, 38,011 jabs given out to people across the country.
Statistically, this is roughly the amount that would need to be administered each day between now and June 30, if the Government is to meet its 80 per ent target.
In a tweet this morning, Deputy Chief Medical Officer, Dr Ronan Glynn said health officials now had “compelling evidence that Covid- 19 vaccines are very effective in the real world."
“We can be confident that large-scale deployment over the coming weeks will impact very positively on the number of people getting Covid, ending up in hospital or dying," he said.
We now have compelling evidence that #COVID19 vaccines are very effective in the real world.— Dr Ronan Glynn (@ronan_glynn) May 12, 2021
We can be confident that large-scale deployment over the coming wks will impact very positively on the number of people getting COVID, ending up in hospital or dying. @roinnslainte 1/7
In a vaccine update this afternoon, the Department of Health says its strategy was still to distribute all available vaccines “as quickly as is operationally possible, prioritising those who are most vulnerable to Covid-19.