By Michelle Devane, PA
Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly has warned difficulties in the supply of Covid-19 vaccines could put in jeopardy the Government’s pledge that 82 per cent of the adult population will have received or been offered a first dose by the end of June.
Mr Donnelly said that, to date, more than 2.5 million doses of vaccine have been administered and take-up is going from “strength to strength”.
But he warned that it was “unclear” whether the Government will be able to reach its target by the end of June, due to supply issues.
Mr Donnelly told the Daíl on Thursday morning there were “serious concerns” over the supply of the Janssen vaccine in the coming weeks.
“It looks like we’re going to get a significant under-delivery on Janssen and there are question marks as to what’s going to come in from AstraZeneca,” the Wicklow TD said.
The State had been due to receive 600,000 shots of Johnson & Johnson's one-dose Janssen vaccine in the April-June period but only 26,400 shots had been delivered as of May 9th, with the vast majority set to be delivered next month.
Mr Donnelly said the best-case scenario now is that about 235,000 would be delivered in June. In the worst-case scenario the figure could be “as low as around 60,000”.
50% of adults vaccinated
Despite the continuing supply problems, he confirmed half of the State's adult population will have received at least one Covid-19 vaccination by the end of this week.
Some 280,000 doses will be given this week.
He said was “delighted” to share that “by the end of this week, half the adult population in our country will have received at least one vaccine dose.”
“It’s a wonderful thing to think that, in the dark and brutal year that this country has faced, that by the end of this weekend half our adult population will have received at least one dose of the Covid-19 vaccine,” he added.
Mr Donnelly thanked the thousands of healthcare workers involved in the administration of the vaccination programme on behalf of the Government.