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Leah Farrell/

More than 40% of adults in Ireland have received their first Covid-19 vaccine jab

Almost two in every five adults in Northern Ireland is fully vaccinated.

LAST UPDATE | 18 May 2021

MORE THAN 40% of adults have received their first dose of the Covid-19 vaccine, the health minister has said.

Stephen Donnelly said today that in excess of 2.1 million vaccine doses have been administered in Ireland so far.

It comes as registration for the vaccine rollout opens to people aged between 45 and 49 this week.

Minister Donnelly told Virgin Media News: “I can confirm that over the last two or three days we have now got in excess of 40% of the entire adult population who have had at least a first dose.

“That’s two out of every five adults in the country. It’s good news, particularly when we’re dealing with such awful stuff in terms of this criminal activity.

“It’s fantastic to see a vaccine programme that’s going from strength to strength.”

Meanwhile, registration for Covid-19 vaccines is open to people aged between 45 and 49 from this week.

People aged 49 can register from Wednesday, those aged 48 from Thursday, and will continue through the ages on each subsequent day.

Details of the latest advice from the National Immunisation Advisory Committee (NIAC) were received by the HSE at the weekend, with the next steps now under consideration.

People aged between 40 and 49 could be given a choice of which vaccine they receive, according to advice given to the HSE.

One possibility under discussion is that people aged 40 to 49 could choose whether to accept one of the AstraZeneca or Johnson & Johnson vaccines, or wait for Moderna or Pfizer, which have been approved for use in that cohort.

At present, AstraZeneca and the Johnson & Johnson (also known as the Janssen vaccine) jabs are not being given to those under the age of 50 due to concerns over a rare blood clotting issue.

This has created problems with the vaccine rollout, because the majority of people over 50 are scheduled to be vaccinated by the end of May, while the bulk of J&J vaccines are due at the end of June.

This had led to concerns that hundreds of thousands of vaccine doses could be left unused.

Chief clinical officer Dr Colm Henry said today: “We received some information over the weekend indicating the line of thinking of NIAC as it was relayed by the CMO to the minister for health.

“That shows that NIAC certainly considered the administration of these vector vaccines – you know, AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson – to 40 to 49-year-olds, with some conditions attached.

“We need to go through that information ourselves and think, how do we translate that information and those requirements into a mass vaccination programme where we can do this at pace.”

Northern Ireland

Separately, around seven in 10 adults in Northern Ireland have received the first jab of a Covid-19 vaccine, according to figures released today. 

A total of 1,000,928 people have received their first vaccine dose, and 567,117 people have received both doses of the jab.

It means that just under 39% of the adult population in the North is fully vaccinated against Covid-19. 

In Northern Ireland, people aged 30-39 are currently being asked to book their first Pfizer dose, while people aged 40 or over can book in for the first dose of AstraZeneca.

Stormont Health Minister Robin Swann said: “I cannot praise our vaccination programme too highly. It is a massive logistical undertaking and I have seen up close the dedication and the long hours that have been invested in making it work.

I would again urge everyone to get their first and second jabs when their turn comes. I am certainly looking forward to getting my second AstraZeneca jab in the coming weeks.

Patricia Donnelly, who heads the vaccination programme, said that supplies are limited at present and that vaccinations are being done as quickly as supplies allow.

“We expect that [supplies] will improve in June,” she said. “I would once again ask people waiting their turn to be patient. Keep checking the online booking portal as new appointment slots are being opened up on a regular basis.”

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