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Tuesday 5 December 2023 Dublin: 4°C

Pharmacies set to begin vaccinating 18-34 year-olds from next Monday

People in the age bracket can contact a participating pharmacy to book an appointment for the jab.

AROUND 700 PHARMACIES across the country will begin vaccinating people aged 18-34 from Monday 5 July, the Health Minister has confirmed.

Stephen Donnelly said that the youngest age cohort of adults would have an option to be given the single-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine from their pharmacist from next week.

Donnelly also confirmed that the online booking system for 30-34 year-olds will also open next Friday. About a week after that mRNA vaccinations – mainly the Pfizer jab – will start to be administered to this cohort.

The Health Minister told RTÉ’s Morning Ireland programme that a two-track vaccine roll-out will come into effect.

“Next Monday, pharmacies will begin administering Janssen, to people aged 18 to 34, who have contacted their pharmacy, registered with their pharmacy and said, ‘I’d like to be vaccinated’,” he explained. 

Donnelly added that the 18-34 age cohort would also be able to apply for an AstraZeneca jab through the vaccine portal from 12 July. However, supplies of both the AstraZeneca and Janssen shots will be limited.

“I wanted to make sure was that every vaccine dose we have, of all four, are used up and are available to people. It’s really important. So, as of Monday, pharmacies, about 750 pharmacies around the country, will begin vaccinating people 18 to 34 with Janssen,” Donnelly said.

Donnelly later told the Dáil that 800,000 people in the age group have yet to be vaccinated, including 550,000 people aged 18-29 and 250,000 people aged 30-34.

He also told TDs that people aged between 25-29 who wait for an mRNA vaccine are expected to get their first dose in August, while those aged 18-25 will start being vaccinated from mid-August.

In a statement this morning, the Irish Pharmacy Union welcomed the announcement as a “major boost” to Ireland’s vaccination campaign.

“The Minister’s announcement this morning is extremely positive, providing everyone in the 18 to 34 age group with the option to access to a Covid-19 vaccine in their local pharmacy sooner than would be possible in the vaccination centres,” the union’s Secretary General Darragh O’Loughlin said.

He noted that there had been “huge demand” from people in the 50-69 age cohort to be vaccinated by their pharmacists in recent weeks.

The IPU also urged members of the public to make contact with their pharmacy in advance, and to be patient because it will take time for supplies to reach each participating pharmacy. 

Arranging a vaccine

To arrange a vaccine in a pharmacy, people aged 18-34 have been told to contact a participating pharmacy to book an appointment for a Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

The HSE is asking that people book in advance so pharmacies will be able to plan accordingly and reduce the risk of any wastage.

The health service added that 60,000 Janssen doses have been allocated to approximately 700 pharmacies across Ireland.

So far, around 7,000 of the doses have been used for people aged 50 or over. A further 70,000 doses are available to pharmacies, at short notice, if needed.

Donnelly told the Dáil that around 200,000 Janssen vaccines would become available in July, along with 100,000 AstraZeneca vaccines.

Today’s announcement follows the approval of the vaccine in younger age groups this week, amid concerns about a fourth wave of Covid-19 as a result of the Delta variant.

Johnson & Johnson announced this morning that its vaccine is effective against the highly contagious variant, giving people an immune response lasting at least eight months. 

Deputy Chief Medical Officer Dr Ronan Glynn said the announcement paves the way for every adult in Ireland to be vaccinated by the end of August.

Dr Glynn added that he would encourage everyone to get a vaccine as soon as it is available to them.

However, he warned that, regardless of today’s announcement, Ireland is still facing into a significant surge in coronavirus infections in the next two months because of the Delta variant.

“That will not materially alter the course of what we’re going to deal with in July and August, it may well alter what we have to deal with beyond that,” he said.

But we are where we are, we’ve got to deal with what is facing us. I know it’s difficult for people to understand that something so significant could be coming when we’ve seen such a relative period of stability.

The deputy chief medical officer added that Ireland’s five day average and 14-day incidence rate have both spiked in the last 10 days and complex outbreaks have cropped up around the country.

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