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Vaccine rollout: Are we on track to give 80% of adults a first dose by the end of June?

Some 31.5% of people over the age of 16 have had a first dose with 11.96% of adults fully vaccinated.

EACH WEEK WE’VE been taking a look at Ireland’s Covid-19 situation by examining and comparing data from previous weeks. Over the coming weeks we’ll be focusing on Ireland’s vaccine rollout.

With less than two months until the Government’s target date of giving 80% of adults in Ireland at least a first dose, let’s take a look at our progress. 

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A total of 1.7 million doses had been administered in Ireland as of Wednesday, according to the most recent HSE figures.

Some 31.5% of people over the age of 16 have had a first dose with 11.96% of adults fully vaccinated.

More than 200,000 vaccines were administered in Ireland in the seven days up to Wednesday. 

With just over seven weeks until the Government’s 30 June target date for giving 80% of adults a first dose, can the HSE ramp up sufficiently and administer the 250,000 doses per week it needs to achieve this?

Vaccine supply figures, at least, suggest it is possible. 

A forecast by The Journal predicts it may be slightly later even if the rollout continues to ramp up as planned to 250,000 total doses per week by the end of May (a figure the HSE is fast approaching), and then 450,000 per week by June.

Extrapolating the current figures suggests Ireland will hit this target on roughly 9 July, just a week off target.

Even if the rollout continues at its current pace, no improvement is made and no supply or logistical issues causes the rollout to slow, we are still on track to pass 80% before the end of July, with the potential to reach 100% by the end of September.

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The most up-to-date figures show a reliable supply of Pfizer-BioNTech doses coming in to Ireland – an average of 136,000 doses per week since early April with 191,000 doses arriving at the start of May. 

AstraZeneca – which is reserved for people aged between 50 and 69 – has also increased its supply from 14,400 doses in Week 15 to 36,000 doses in Week 16.

A total of 174,800 doses of AstraZeneca arrived in Ireland last week bringing the total number of doses that arrived into Ireland last week to 400,000. 

The total number of doses due to arrive in Ireland across April, May and June is 4.5 million.

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The HSE this week moved to further vaccinate 60 to 69-year-olds, with the online portal for those aged 50-59 opening on a phased basis on Tuesday. 

However, health officials still need to submit to Government a revised plan for Ireland’s rollout taking into account advice from the National Immunisation Advisory Committee which stated that both AstraZeneca and Janssen (J&J) vaccines should be used only in those aged 50 and over.

This has created something of a headache for the HSE. 

There are, however, exceptions to this advice in the case of J&J, which is to be given to hard to reach groups because it is a one-dose vaccine and HSE CEO Paul Reid this week said he would ask Government to allow this vaccine to be used in those over 50s amid concerns that by the time the majority of J&J doses arrived in June most people over 50 will be vaccinated already. 

HSE vaccination lead Damien McCallion also said on Thursday that J&J deliveries will be reduced by 60,000 doses next week. 

It is expected that a revised rollout plan will be approved by Government next week. 


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Meanwhile, the National Public Health Emergency Team (NPHET) this week confirmed a total of 1,647 new Covid-19 cases between Monday and Thursday – compared to 1,708 new cases reported over the same period last week and 1,810 the previous week.

Health officials have indicated Ireland needs four to six more weeks before vaccination makes a real dent in Ireland’s Covid-19 rates, but certain counties remain a problem. 

Donegal’s 14-day incidence rate of 270 cases per 100,000 people is more than twice the national average of 129.7. 

It prompted Chief Medical Officer Dr Tony Holohan to comment that “the dogs in the street” know that Covid-19 restrictions are being flouted in certain parts of the county. 

This week two new test walk-in test centres were set up in Convoy and Cardonagh in addition to centres at Milford and Letterkenny. 

Milford currently has the highest Covid-19 incidence in the country at 682.6 cases per 100,000 followed by Nenagh in Tipperary (594), Letterkenny (547) and Newbridge in Kildare (484). 

Meanwhile, hospital figures nationally continue to fall with 126 cases of Covid-19 hospitalised, 34 of which are in ICU. 

Last Thursday morning there were 155 confirmed Covid-19 cases in hospital and 44 people in Intensive Care Units.

On Friday 20 March, there were 336 people hospitalised with Covid-19.

Approximately 127,000 tests have been carried out over the past 7 days up to Friday – an increase of 8,000 per week since last week.

The positivity rate currently stands at 2.6% having stood at 2.7% last Friday and 2.8% three weeks ago.

Looking to Europe, Ireland still has one of the lowest incidence rates among European countries, behind Norway (111), Malta (102), Malta (63) and Finland (55).

European countries with the highest rate of Covid-19 include Cyprus (1145), Sweden (691) and the Netherlands (606). 

About the author:

Cónal Thomas & Nicky Ryan

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