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Fewer than a million vaccine doses will be delivered in April, but will be caught up on in May and June, says Tánaiste

A delivery of 112,000 vaccines were delivered last night, said Varadkar.

May and June will see vaccine deliveries rise above one million per month, says Varadkar.
May and June will see vaccine deliveries rise above one million per month, says Varadkar.
Image: Oireachtas.ie

A DELIVERY OF 112,000 vaccines arrived into the country last night, according to Tánaiste Leo Varadkar. 

Speaking in the Dáil today he said this delivery means the target of receiving 1.187 million doses of the vaccine into the country in the first quarter of this year has been reached. 

More than 800,000 vaccines have been administered, said Varadkar. The government hopes to hit the one million doses administered by 7 April, he said.

Supplies of the vaccine are firming up, he said, but acknowledged that the country will get less than the promised one million in April. 

Last week, Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly told the Dail that 1.1 million doses were scheduled to be delivered over the next four weeks.

Earlier in the Dáil, Health Minister Stephen Donnelly said April’s vaccine doses would be revised down. Last night, he told his parliamentary party that 860,000 would be delivered in April.

“I would like to get about a million a month through April, May and June, but it will be less than a million in April, more than a million in May and June,” Varadkar said.

“We do expect to have most adults vaccinated by the end of May and the vast majority of adults offered their first dose no later than the end of June,” he added.

Varadkar said the good news is the data that is emerging now shows that the vaccines work on the different variants. Citing the Centre for Disease Control (CDC) Varadkar said it also appears from recent data that the vaccines prevent transmission, which he said “is really encouraging”.

Varadkar again defended the overhaul of the vaccine plan this week, stating that the decision was made on public health advice from doctors and scientists from the National Immunisation Advisory Committee.

He said the Opposition was constantly calling on the government to listen to the experts, stating during Leaders’ Questions today that this is what the government is doing in this case.

After the most vulnerable and people over 70 have been inoculated, the rollout will be based on age groups, and not occupations as previously planned.

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“It’s made for very good reasons, and a very good reason is that people in their 50s and 60s are at much higher risk of getting severely ill or dying from Covid than people in their 20s and 30s,”  Varadkar said.

“As someone in their 30s has 0.2% chance of dying from Covid, somebody in their 50s is 1.3%, six times higher.

“For somebody in their 40s is 0.4%, for somebody in their 60s is 3.6% – nine times higher.

“There is no group, no profession, other than healthcare workers, that is at higher risk of getting severely ill from Covid or dying from Covid, than the average person in their 60s and that’s why it makes sense to prioritise people in their 60s and 50s.

“One thing that is very advantageous, I think, about moving towards an age-based system is that it is simple. All you need is proof of date of birth.”

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