People in 40s could get vaccine at same time as over-50s, Donnelly says

He said people in their 40s could be vaccinated 'potentially in parallel' with those in their 50s.
People in 40s could get vaccine at same time as over-50s, Donnelly says

People in their 40s may be vaccinated in parallel to those in their 50s, Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly has said.

The Department of Health and the State's vaccine taskforce are currently reviewing the rollout plan due to supply issues and a change in advice on the Johnson & Johnson and AstraZeneca vaccines.

The National Immunisation Advisory Committee last week recommended the J&J and AstraZeneca vaccines are only given to people aged over 50.

Speaking on RTÉ, Mr Donnelly said different options are being explored and that people in their 40s could be vaccinated “potentially in parallel” with those in their 50s.

He said “no decisions have been made”.

The current rollout for over-60s is going “very well” and the online portal for the over-50s opens next week, he said.

Significant supplies of Johnson & Johnson are not expected to arrive in Ireland for some weeks.

On the possibility of people in their 40s being vaccinated at the same time as those in their 50s, Mr Donnelly said: “I want to stress, we’re running the numbers at the moments, we’ll be working on this through the weekend and we’ll be looking at various policy options early next week.”

He said that the target to vaccinate 82 per cent of all adults by the end of June will be on track if vaccine deliveries are as promised. This date was “a forecast”, he said.

Mr Donnelly said he did not accept AstraZeneca chief executive Pascal Soriot's claim that the company “never overpromised on vaccine supply”.

Level system

Meanwhile, Mr Donnelly said the five-tier system used to define the State's Covid response was now “largely gone”.

The system was introduced last September and the Republic has been in a so-called “Level 5” lockdown since December 30th.

Mr Donnelly said the country could arguably be moving into “level three plus or four minus”, but said it was “better to look at the measures individually”.

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