Stephen McNeice
Stephen McNeice

09.32 31 May 2021


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Vaccination of people aged 40-44 should be underway by the middle of June, the HSE says.

Registration for COVID-19 vaccine appointments for everyone in that age group will open later this week, starting with 44-year-olds on Wednesday.

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It's expected that 50% of the adult population will have received at least one dose of a vaccine by the end of today.

The Government has been aiming to hit a goal of 82% of adults being offered at least one dose of a vaccine by the end of June.

Senior ministers have acknowledged their target may be missed due to the impact of supply issues around the Johnson & Johnson vaccine in particular.

On Newstalk Breakfast, HSE Chief Clinical Officer Dr Colm Henry said it's still hard to be certain whether the target will be hit.

Vaccination of people aged 40-44 should be underway by middle of June, HSE says

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However, he said that great progress has been made.

He explained: “We’ll be opening that portal for 40-45-year-olds later this week. Hopefully, we’ll be beginning them in the middle of June… we hope to get through the great majority of those certainly by the end of the month and into July.

"The groups that have been targeted first… has had a huge impact in terms of the collapse in the harm [from the virus].

"We’ve really given this virus a kick in the you-know-what, and its ability to cause harm has certainly reduced.”

Dr Henry said the Pfizer vaccine supplies have been a "constant", but they've sometimes seen last-minute changes when it comes to AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson deliveries.

Nonetheless, he said the level of uptake and enthusiasm from the public around vaccination is "the envy of Europe".

He said: "The uptake has been astonishing. Over 80 years of age, 90% of eligible people have taken it.

“The 60-69 year olds… we were worried because it was only the AstraZeneca vaccine being offered. [But it's] almost 90% uptake… and so on right down [the age groups].”

Main image: The HSE Vaccination Centre in the Aviva Stadium. Photo: Leon Farrell/Photocall Ireland

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