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AstraZeneca vaccine delivery for this week reduced from 45,000 to 9,000 doses

The next delivery of 165,000 doses on 30 April will also be delayed.

Image: PA

THE HSE HAS revealed that the delivery of AstraZeneca vaccines for this week has been reduced significantly from 45,000 to 9,000 doses.

The health service referenced the change to the supply during a meeting of the Oireachtas Health Committee earlier.

The committee heard there have been 12 changes to either dates of delivery or volumes in the past week, including changes to the AstraZeneca supply in the last 48 hours which will “reduce capacity” over the coming weeks.

Damien McCallion, the HSE national director responsible for the vaccine rollout, said he was “not in a position at the moment” to confirm whether the target of giving a first dose to 80% of the adult population by the end of June would be met.

This is primarily because of issues with supply, he said, adding: “There’s a very immediate effect of that into the next couple of weeks.”

He said the capacity to reach 250,000 jabs a week is in place through hospitals, vaccination centres and pharmacists, but supply levels are preventing that from happening.

He told the committee: “We will get to those figures. We will need to get to those figures.

“But I’m just saying that at the moment, our constraint really is we do not have the supply that would allow us to test the system we were hoping to get there.

We were hoping to get to the door with a 200,000 mark in the coming weeks, but we just will not have the supply to achieve that at the moment.

The HSE later confirmed the AstraZeneca vaccine delivery scheduled to arrive this Saturday has been reduced from 45,000 to 9,000 doses.

A spokesperson also confirmed the next delivery of 165,000 doses on 30 April has been delayed, with a new arrival date three days later, though this is still subject to confirmation with the supplier.

Johnson & Johnson vaccine

Damien McCallion told the Oireachtas committee that for the month of April, the HSE was expecting to receive 800,000 vaccines.

Around 1.4 million are expected in May, and 1.6 million in June.The figures do not include the Johnson & Johnson single-dose vaccine, of which Ireland is to receive more than 600,000 doses by the end of June.

The J&J jab was reviewed by the European Medicines Agency on Tuesday after fears over rare instances of blood clotting saw the manufacturer pause its supplies to Europe. The EMA found that the benefits of the jab outweigh the risks.

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Professor Karina Butler, chairwoman of the National Immunisation Advisory Committee, said the EMA’s findings will be reviewed over the coming days.

Earlier a European commissioner said Ireland will receive enough vaccines to fully inoculate 70% of the adult population by mid-July. Internal market commissioner Thierry Breton said the EU is on target to supply Ireland with almost six million doses by July.

Breton, who heads a European taskforce on the industrial scale-up of Covid-19 vaccines, said the rollout will also depend on Ireland’s ability to organise mass vaccinations. He told the Oireachtas Committee on European Union Affairs that by the end of the year, the EU will have an annual production capacity of more than three billion doses.

He said no country could produce the vaccines alone, adding that “solidarity” was the only way to avoid vaccine nationalism.

“I am confident that by mid-July, we will have produced enough doses to fully vaccinate 70% of the adult population, which is something that is extremely important,” he added.

Breton said reaching targets will depend on the ability of countries to organise mass vaccinations.

- With reporting by Michelle Hennessy.

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