393 further Covid cases as HSE says people in their 20s could be waiting until November for vaccines 

393 further Covid cases as HSE says people in their 20s could be waiting until November for vaccines 

Dr Colm Henry said the rollout pace is dependent on supply but currently the HSE estimates starting vaccines for younger people in late September. Picture: Arnulfo Franco

A further 393 confirmed cases of Covid-19 were recorded Saturday, according to the Department of Health.

Hospital numbers continue to decrease, with 48 patients in hospital with the disease, of whom 14 are in intensive care units.

Daily case numbers may change due to future data review, validation and update, subject to the HSE cyberattack.

People in their 20s could be waiting until early November to be fully vaccinated and return to normal life, the HSE chief clinical officer has estimated.

Dr Colm Henry said the rollout pace is dependent on supply but currently the HSE estimates starting vaccines for younger people in late September.

Asked if this age group are potentially looking at receiving their first jab in late August or even early September, said: “It’s very roughly then ... it is a number of months ahead.” 

The National Public Health Emergency Team (Nphet) has said that people who are not vaccinated should avoid foreign holidays and other trips abroad.

Dr Henry said that to be safe travelling people need to be fully vaccinated. 

Asked if he would hypothetically take unvaccinated children abroad on holidays, he said he would be “hesitant”.

The vaccine portal for people aged 35 to 39 opens on Sunday. Altogether there are 710,000 people aged between 30 and 39.

Dr Henry said: “We expect to work right through June, to the end of July for first jab — I would say into the first couple of weeks in August and then the second jab one month later.” 

Ireland will receive extra supplies of the Pfizer vaccine over the coming weeks. However people in their 40s will also still be receiving their second jab of this vaccine over the summer.

People aged 60 to 69 and vulnerable people on the priority list are now receiving their second dose of AstraZenca with over 90,000 doses scheduled for this week.

Looming in the background, he said, is the risk from the rising number of Delta variant cases in the UK.

“The numbers in Ireland are low,” he said.

“But I don’t think any of us believe they are going to remain that low. There is no doubt in my mind that we will see those figure go up.” 

Referring to strict travel restrictions and public health measure, he said: “We have managed to contain the number to allow us to try and vaccinate a particular portion of the population, it is a race against time.” 

Dr Holohan had asked people considering travelling to Northern Ireland to make a risk assessment before travelling. 

Non-essential travel to other parts of the UK is already not recommended.

Dr Henry said: “The great majority of the cases in the UK have been in England. There are smaller numbers in Northern Ireland, although they are going up. This is something we have to watch out for.

"Any degrees of open movement between countries may well facilitate the introduction and spread of this variant.”

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