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Leo Varadkar suggests that anyone who wants a Covid-19 vaccine 'may be offered one by the end of June'

The Tánaiste made the comments at a Fine Gael meeting this evening.

Image: Leon Farrell/Photocall Ireland

Updated May 12th 2021, 7:49 PM

LEO VARADKAR HAS suggested that anyone in Ireland over the age of 18 who wants a Covid-19 vaccine may be offered one by the end of next month.

The Tánaiste told a meeting of Fine Gael’s parliamentary party this evening that the vaccine portal could be open to all adults by the end of June, though he cautioned that this did not mean that everyone would be vaccinated by then.

Varadkar also said that it could be too soon to say for definite whether that target would be met, but expressed optimism that it could be if supplies increased.

He pointed to figures in other countries which suggested that 10-15% of people turn down their offer of a vaccine, as well as the possibility that 350,000 to 400,000 doses per week could be administered in Ireland if supplies rose sufficiently.

It follows comments by Health Minister Stephen Donnelly earlier today that the government aims to outline a timeline next week as to when all age groups can expect to receive their first dose of Covid vaccine.

Donnelly said he would bring a revamped plan for the rollout of the vaccine to Cabinet next week, based on NIAC’s updated recommendation about the use of AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson vaccines in under 50s.

The Government’s current target is to ensure 80% of the population has received at least one dose by the end of June.

It comes as Ireland’s vaccine rollout hit the milestone of administering 250,000 doses in a seven-day period for the first time.

As of Monday, a total of 1,882,635 doses of vaccine had been administered in Ireland.

Meanwhile, Varadkar also told this evening’s Fine Gael parliamentary party meeting that another memo could go to Cabinet next week on opening Ireland up to international travel.

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The memo is expected to outline how Ireland will sign up to the EU’s proposed vaccine Green Cert, which will allow vaccinated people more freedom to travel around the continent.

The Fine Gael leader added that travel was like to return in July or August at the latest, but that travel between Ireland and the UK could return in June when legislation on mandatory hotel quarantine is due to be renewed.

- Contains reporting by Christina Finn and Stephen McDermott.

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