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Half of adult population will be fully vaccinated by end of today, Donnelly says

More than 4.3 million Covid jabs have been administered to date, with 49.6% of adults fully vaccinated.

The mass vaccination centre at the Helix in Dublin
The mass vaccination centre at the Helix in Dublin
Image: Brian Lawless via PA Images

HALF OF IRELAND’S adult population will have been fully vaccinated against Covid-19 by the end today, the Health Minister has said.

More than 4.3 million coronavirus jabs have been administered to date, with 49.6% of adults fully vaccinated.

Some 67% of adults have received their first dose.

Stephen Donnelly tweeted: “By the end of today half our adult population will have full vaccination.

“This will continue to grow in the days and weeks ahead.

“It’s important that everyone continues to ensure they get their second dose.”

It came as the country’s vaccination programme took a significant step forward, with those aged between 18 and 34 able to receive the one-shot Janssen jab from today.

Some 800 pharmacies across the country have begun rolling out vaccines to those in the younger age group.

Donnelly confirmed that people aged 18 to 34 can receive their coronavirus vaccination up to two months early under the accelerated programme.

It follows updated advice from the National Immunisation Advisory Committee (NIAC) that the AstraZeneca and Janssen (also known as Johnson & Johnson) vaccines can be given to people under 40.

People aged 18 to 34 can now “opt in” for one of those jabs, or choose to wait for an mRNA vaccine such as Pfizer or Moderna.

HSE boss Paul Reid said 343,000 vaccines were administered last week.

“Over 49% of adults now fully vaccinated,” he said in a tweet.

“Every day, more people are protected.

“Pharmacies play a key role this week also, in administering available Janssen vaccines to those aged 18-34 who ‘opt in’ for this one.”

Speaking about vaccine supplies, Taoiseach Micheál Martin said the deal to purchase one million unwanted vaccines from Romania was agreed on Friday, and work is underway to deal with the logistics. 

He said he did not have a timeline or date for when Ireland will received those vaccines. 

“We have been in touch with other European Member States as well,” he said, stating they are trying to ascertain of there are any surplus vaccines available. 

The Taoiseach said they should be close to the 50% vaccinated by tomorrow, in his view.

The government is “looking at every possible supply line”, he said.

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Representatives from the hospitality industry will hold a meeting with Government officials about the reopening of the sector this afternoon.

Under earlier plans, indoor dining had been due to reopen today; however, it was delayed following advice from the National Public Health Emergency Team (NPHET) amid concerns about the Delta variant, first identified in India.

Hospitality representatives wanted members of NPHET to be included in the talks, but Adrian Cummins, chief executive of the Restaurants Association of Ireland, was told they would not be attending today’s meeting.

The discussion will focus on the Government’s decision to bring in NPHET-recommended plans to allow only the fully vaccinated or those who have immunity from Covid after contracting the virus to dine indoors.

A plan is to be in place by 19 July, although a date for reopening has yet to be confirmed.

A number of restrictions have been eased from today, including an increase in the number of people permitted to attend outdoor events.

Venues with a capacity of more than 5,000 can let 500 people in.

The number of guests allowed to attend a wedding has also increased to 50.

People who are fully vaccinated or have recovered from the disease can also meet in private homes with no limit on numbers.

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Press Association

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