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Supplies 'very limited' as pharmacies begin vaccinating 18-34 age group

The HSE confirmed that another 343,000 vaccine doses were administered last week.
Jul 5th 2021, 10:04 AM 38,006 44

Updated Jul 5th 2021, 3:55 PM

OVER 750 PHARMACIES have begun vaccinating people between the ages of 18 and 34 who signed up to receive a Johnson & Johnson (Janssen) jab today. 

Almost every pharmacy that’s involved in the program has hundreds if not thousands of people trying to put their names down for appointments, according to Darragh O’Loughlin, Secretary-General of the Irish Pharmacy Union. 

“I’ve had reports from all across Ireland – from large cities down to small towns – of pharmacies inundated with people looking for the vaccine,” O’Loughlin told the News at One on RTÉ Radio One. 

He said that supplies are currently very limited and that there is probably “only one vaccine for every ten people looking” for a jab this week. 

Some 120,000 J&J jabs are to be administered in the coming weeks – 50,000 are already in pharmacies while another 80,000 are due to be distributed. 

O’Loughlin added that pharmacies are hoping to get further supplies beyond those already scheduled for distribution. 

HSE chief Paul Reid said pharmacies were playing a key role in Ireland’s ramped-up vaccination programme in administering available Jansen vaccines to 18-34 year-olds who opted in and got an appointment.

Reid also confirmed on Twitter that another 343,000 vaccine doses were administered last week, with over 49% of the adult population now fully vaccinated. 

“Every day, more people are protected,” he tweeted.

It was announced Friday that people aged 18 to 34 could receive the single-shot J&J vaccine through participating pharmacies.

After Friday’s announcement, several pharmacies reported non-stop phone calls from people requesting an appointment. Boots Ireland temporarily closed down its bookings for Covid vaccines on Friday “as all available appointments have been booked”. 

Some people who had made an online booking with Boots were later informed by text message that their appointment had been cancelled. 

The HSE’s chief clinical officer Dr Colm Henry said Saturday that the jabs will be distributed based on the demand from individual pharmacies and geographical areas adding that there may not be enough supply to meet the demand but that other options are available. 

The 18-34 age group can also register to receive an AstraZeneca jab from a vaccination centre from 12 July.

Alternatively, the same age group can wait to receive an mRNA vaccine from Pfizer or Moderna through the HSE’s online portal when their age cohort becomes eligible. 

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The portal is to open to people aged 30-34 from next Friday 9 July and then younger age cohorts in August. 

Efforts to ramp up the vaccination programme are ongoing, amid the threat posed by the Delta variant and a recommendation from public health experts that indoor hospitality will not return until a system can be set up allowing only vaccinated customers to enter.

As part of those efforts, Ireland on Friday agreed a deal in principle to purchase one million unwanted vaccines from Romania.

Yesterday, public health officials confirmed a further 562 cases of Covid-19 in Ireland. On Saturday 488 new cases were confirmed with 512 on Friday.

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