Jack Quann
Jack Quann

10.45 31 Dec 2020


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A spokesperson for the Health Minister Stephen Donnelly has said it is the Government's hope that by autumn, the Irish population will be vaccinated against the coronavirus.

The comments came after earlier suggestions by Justice Minister Helen McEntee that the Government did not anticipate having everyone vaccinated in the coming year.

A spokesperson for Minister Donnelly told Newstalk while the aim is to have everyone vaccinated by the autumn of 2021, this is reliant on the authorisation and availability of vaccines.

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The Government has an indicative delivery schedule for the next two months, however a further breakdown is not currently available.

It comes as Ireland has again moved into a full level five lockdown, in a bid to tackle the latest spike in cases.

There is a ban on household visits, while non-essential retail will close from shut of business on Thursday.

Travel is also limited to five kilometres from your home, and a ban on travel between Ireland and Britain has been extended until January 6th.

Six people will be permitted to attend weddings, while 10 mourners may attend funerals.

coronavirus vaccine Minister for Justice Helen McEntee outside Government Buildings as she published the findings of a hate crime public consultation, which was carried out by the Department of Justice. Picture by: Sam Boal/RollingNews.ie

On this, Minister McEntee earlier told Late Breakfast With Mark Cagney: "We have all these restrictions in place and we have ways of enforcing them.

"But this is really about asking people to stay at home for the month of January".

"We can't say for definite that this is going to end in January - but if we can stick to it rigidly over the next month, then we will hopefully see that sharp decline".

On the vaccine rollout, she said: "We don't anticipate that we can have everybody vaccinated this year.

"But what we do anticipate is that the more vulnerable people we get with the vaccine... the more of our medical professionals and everybody else, it reduces the risk overall and it allows things to maybe open up where we don't have that impact on our health service as we currently see now".

It comes just days after a 79-year-old Dublin grandmother became the first person here to get the vaccine.

Annie Lynch, from the Liberties area, got the vaccine at St James’s Hospital and said she felt "very privileged" to have become the first person in Ireland to get the jab.

While the CEO of the HSE has previously said the mass roll-out of the vaccine should be completed in Ireland by August.

But Paul Reid said the inoculation programme will depend on the delivery schedule of the jab into the country.

Responding to criticism that the roll-out in Ireland had been slower than other EU countries, Mr Reid said he "totally understands the public perspective to get going" with the inoculation programme swiftly.

However, safety protocols and "complex" consent process needed to be worked through in recent days before the vaccines could begin, he added.

Mr Reid said: "Once we confirm delivery, we are still expecting around 40,000 deliveries per week of the Pfizer/BioNTech supply.

"Whatever schedule of delivery we get...we will be planning to deploy that delivery schedule in a sequence basis as agreed by Government."

Main image: File photo of someone receiving a vaccine. Picture by: Johan Nilsson/AP/Press Association Images

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