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1,200 inmates receive Covid vaccines as wider roll-out to prisons begins

The vaccinations will be administered by staff from the National Ambulance Service.

Image: Niall Carson/PA

THE HSE HAS begun the wider roll-out of Covid-19 vaccines across the prison system.

A small number of individual prisoners hd already received a vaccine, but the HSE is now working systematically through each prison, offering vaccines to all inmates and staff.

Some 1,200 vaccinations were planned for the first two prisons in the roll-out; Portlaoise and Wheatfield prisons.

Vaccinations in prisons are being administered by staff from the National Ambulance Service. 

The HSE is expected to this week confirm when the vaccine registration portal will be open to those in the community aged 35-39.

CEO Paul Reid has also said the health service has received assurance from AstraZeneca that its supply lines have been ‘firmed up’ and it will be able to deliver the volume of jabs it has committed to. 

He said around 450,000 people who are awaiting a second dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine will receive it within the next five weeks. The wait time for a second AstraZeneca dose is being gradually reduced from 12 weeks to eight following advice from the National Immunisation Advisory Committee (NIAC).

Reid said it is planned that the second doses of AstraZeneca will be completed by 19 July. 

The HSE chief said the rollout of the second dose of AstraZeneca will not delay the vaccination rollout for those in younger age cohorts.

Reid also confirmed people who do not wish to receive the second dose of AstraZeneca will not be offered an mRNA vaccine in its place.

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