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450,000 second doses of AZ will be completed within next 10 days, Reid says

“They will all be fully completed now probably in the week commencing 12 July,” HSE chief Paul Reid said.

HSE chief Paul Reid
HSE chief Paul Reid
Image: Leon Farrell via RollingNews.ie

HSE CHIEF PAUL Reid has confirmed 450,000 people due to get their second dose of the AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine will receive it within the next 10 days. 

This government this week agreed to proceed with advice from the National Immunisation Advisory Committee (NIAC) to reduce the interval between doses of the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine from eight weeks to four. 

In Ireland the two mRNA vaccines, Pfizer and Moderna, are administered in two doses four weeks apart but there is a gap of eight weeks for the AstraZeneca jab. 

This reduction to a four-week gap comes following a previous reduction from 12 to eight weeks.

Speaking to Newstalk’s On The Record, Reid said there are about 450,000 people due to get their second dose of AstraZeneca and around 250,000 of those have been completed in the last two weeks. 

“They will all be fully completed now probably in the week commencing 12 July. So, over the next 10 days we will have completed all of those,” Reid said. 

Health Minister Stephen Donnelly confirmed on Monday that both the AstraZeneca and Janssen vaccines will be made available for all age groups

They had previously been made available for those over 50. 

Around 700 pharmacies across the country will begin to vaccinate people aged 18-34 from tomorrow. 

Announcing the news on Friday, Donnelly said the youngest age cohort of adults would have an option to be given the single-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine from their pharmacist.

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.

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Romania vaccines

It was announced on Friday that Ireland has agreed a deal in principle to purchase one million unwanted vaccines from Romania.

Taoiseach Micheál Martin spoke with his Romanian counterpart, President Klaus Iohannis this morning and a deal was agreed, but is yet to be finalised.

The PA news agency understands that the purchase will be made up of the mRNA vaccines Pfizer and Moderna.

“This will be a very positive scenario for us as a country if it comes across the line,” Reid said. 

He said there are a very issues that will have to be worked through to get the deal across the line, such as checking the expiry dates, “getting clarification on all of the logistics, the cold chain storage, how do we secure the cold change storage, the transport, because generally we get our deliveries directly from Pfizer,” he said. 

“It still has to get across the line … but it would be a very significant enhancement for us,” Reid added. 

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