The HSE Chief Executive has said that it would be ready to make changes to the Covid-19 vaccination programme if the Government was to decide to vaccinate those under the age of 30 sooner.
People under the age of 30 may receive a Covid-19 vaccination ahead of those in the 30-50 age cohort as part of new proposals which are being examined by the Department of Health.
HSE Cheif Executive Paul Reid said:
"We are working off medical, scientific advice from the National Immunisation Advice Committee which is very strong and compelling to administer the vaccines based on age.
"That is where the highest risk is and that is the plan agreed by Government and that is the plan we are working through right now."
He said that if at any stage there are changes by the Government, they "will change the plan accordingly, but all of the medical and scientific advice is strongly to administer based on age".
The Irish Times has reported that the Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly TD has asked officials to examine the possibility of changing the current cohorts under the vaccination allocation schedule.
The changes would mean that those in the 18-30 age cohort would receive the vaccination earlier than those in the 30-50 age cohort once the over 60s are vaccinated.
The Minister for Health told The Irish Times that the change is being examined on the basis that it could help to reduce the spread of the virus.
“I’ve asked the department to assess the case for vaccinating younger cohorts earlier, on the basis of reducing overall transmission as quickly as possible,” he said.
The current Covid-19 Vaccine Allocation Strategy was updated on 30 March with a focus on age and medical conditions.
It comes ahead of the possible easing of Covid-19 restrictions from 4 May.