Published: 2 July 2021
There is optimism in the pace of the national vaccine programme but concern due to the 'spread and dominance of the Delta variant', according to HSE CEO Paul Reid.
"We think we are out the gap, and another wave comes along to threaten our best laid plans,” he said.
“We are highly committed to vaccinating as many people as possible, as quickly as possible, based on whatever supplies we get. We can confidently show, we have one of the highest vaccination uptake rates in Europe.”
Mr Reid said the HSE has submitted its latest vaccination plan – now on version 31 – to the Minister for Health. It follows NIAC’s recommendation that the AstraZeneca and Janssen vaccines be offered to the under 50s. He described the latest plan as ‘ambitious’.
"We will continue to use all available channels to fully embrace all recommendations from NIAC,” he said.
One of the changes being implemented is a reduction in the time between dose 1 and dose 2 of AstraZeneca vaccine. NIAC issued the following reason for recommending the reduced interval.
The threat of new variants in circulation and evidence of suboptimal protection against the delta variant after one dose of Vaxzevria® (AstraZeneca) means that the shorter 4-week interval is preferable to ensure earlier protection.
We are currently in a period of peak vaccine supply. It will take time to implement the reduced interval for those getting their second dose of AstraZeneca but a plan is in place to expedite this element of the programme. Appointments will now issue between 4 and 12 weeks for anyone needing a second dose of AstraZeneca vaccine.
With the vaccine programme dashboard now available publicly again following the cyber attack:
- a total of over 4.1 million vaccine doses have been administered
- 67% of the adult population ( 2.44 million people) have had a first dose of a COVID vaccine
- 44% of the adult population have had a second dose (1.59 million people)
- 72,000 have had the Janssen vaccine
- 351,000 vaccines were administered last week
- the HSE is ‘on track’ to deliver 300,000 to 330,000 vaccine doses this week
Meanwhile, the Social Inclusion team in CHO Dublin North City and County have set up a COVID-19 vaccination centre at the Tolco Clinic in Dublin 11, which offers addiction services for Dublin North. The clinic is to support the ongoing vaccination programme of vulnerable groups.
Minister of State for Public Health, Wellbeing and the National Drugs Strategy Frank Feighan visited the centre this week to witness the important work by the dedicated team.
“The rollout of the vaccination programme to all those in prioritised socially excluded groups will ultimately benefit over 40,000 individuals. The delivery of the programme takes into account the unique circumstances affecting these groups, including difficulties some may have in accessing and engaging with health services. Other at-risk groups, such as residents in direct provision and people attending drug treatment services, will benefit from this targeted approach in due course,” he said.