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Government plans to have almost 4 million people vaccinated by end of September, says Donnelly

Varadkar says between 50,000 and 55,000 people will be vaccinated this week.

Image: Shutterstock/Mongkolchon Akesin

HEALTH MINISTER STEPHEN DONNELLY has told the Dáil that the Government plans to have 700,000 people vaccinated by the end of March.

This would include the priority groups such as those in long-term residential care, both staff and residents, frontline healthcare workers, and those aged over 70. 

In total, the government is aiming for almost four million people to be vaccinated by the end of September, Donnelly said. 

The minister said the government plants to vaccinate more than 1.5 million people in the second quarter of this year.

He said more than 1.5 million additional people should be reached in quarter three of 2021.

“At these levels, people most at risk of Covid-19 will be fully vaccinated by the summer,” he said.

Donnelly warned that these figures are not guaranteed and are dependent on vaccine supplies and delivery.

Tánaiste Leo Varadkar told the Fine Gael parliamentary party meeting yesterday that between 50,000 and 55,000 will be vaccinated this week. He said it is hoped everyone in a nursing home or long term residential care centre will be vaccinated by Sunday week.

He tweeted this evening that Ireland is catching up:

The updated predictions come after reports that Fine TDs, including former health minister Simon Harris, criticised the communications around the vaccination plan, saying the public do not know enough about it.

Donnelly said he has asked for up-to-date information on vaccination figures to be uploaded online. 

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The latest figures are due to be available on the Covid Data Hub this weekend, with the minister stating that regular updates will be given.

Speaking in the Dáil this afternoon, Fianna Fáil’s Marc MacSharry said people were looking to the North and seeing people getting vaccinated much quicker.  

He told Donnelly that the government failed to put in the preparations for the roll out of the vaccine, stating: “We didn’t prepare, that is where we are.”

MacSharry said the healthcare workers are not to blame, stating that the government should be leading the roll out. 

He said the vaccine “wasn’t sprung upon us, but we weren’t ready”.

The government needs to “up the game and get with the programme”, he added.

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