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Friday 9 June 2023 Dublin: 15°C
Alamy Stock Photo File photo of Tánaiste Leo Varadkar.
# booster rollout
Around 1.75 million people will have received a booster by Christmas, says Tánaiste
It is understood that Leo Varadkar made the comment at tonight’s Fine Gael parliamentary party meeting.

TÁNAISTE LEO VARADKAR has said that around 1.75 million people will have received their third Covid vaccination by Christmas. 

It is understood that Varadkar told tonight’s Fine Gael parliamentary party meeting that two million will have received their booster jab by New Year.

It comes after Health Minister Stephen Donnelly announced this evening that the booster vaccine regime is to be ramped up significantly in a bid to stop the nation’s hospitals becoming overwhelmed by the Omicron variant. 

People in their 40s will start to receive the date for their jab next week, with the actual vaccination happening another week later.

The Government has also taken on advice which will see the removal of the 15 minute post-jab observation period in the hope that this will speed up the immunisation process.

Varadkar also said at tonight’s party meeting that the incidence rate amongst children aged 5-11 was falling.

Party colleagues heard there are no plans to close schools early and that they will reopen as scheduled.

The party leader said we were in an unusual situation in that we were winning the battle against Delta thanks to the Three Dose Programme and people following public health advice.

He said we will know the full extent of Omicron in the future, but added that it could be the dominant strain here by the end of next week.

This evening, an additional 4,235 new cases of Covid-19 were confirmed in Ireland.

Public health officials confirmed that 24 additional cases of the Omicron variant have been detected here, bringing to 42 the total number of cases that have been identified in the country.

Chief Medical Officer Dr Tony Holohan said the variant now accounts for 13% of all reported cases here.

A total of 250,00 PCR tests are being carried out every week along with 100,000 free antigen tests.

Regarding 2022, Varadkar said that work from Ministers and their departments in the first six months of the year was “absolutely essential”.

He also noted more than 31,000 homes have commenced construction in the past year, up from 7,500 in 2016.

It is also understood that all Fine Gael public representatives will have a meeting on 15 January next in line with public health advice at the time.

With reporting by Christina Finn.

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