Digital Desk Staff
Significant shortfalls in the supply of vaccines are not expected to affect the new schedule for the reopening of social and economic life, to be announced today.
As The Irish Times reports, while the undersupply of promised vaccines, including potentially a big reduction in the expected numbers of the single-dose Johnson & Johnson shot, will hit the pace of the vaccination programme in June, Ministers are expected to press ahead with the plan for reopening.
But there was no disguising the disappointment in Government circles at the news that there were new shortfalls in vaccine supply on the horizon.
A potential massive undersupply of the one-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine will hit the vaccination programme especially hard.
HSE chief executive Paul Reid said best-case scenario for deliveries of AstraZeneca in the coming weeks is half of what was expected.
While the HSE does not know how many Johnson & Johnson vaccines it will receive. Mr Reid said the number varies from a worst case of 64,000 to a best case of 235,000. So far, 60,000 doses have been received, most of which have been administered.
However, the State’s public health team last night cleared the way for the expected easing of Covid-19 restrictions throughout the summer.
Broadly positive update
In a letter to Government, the National Public Health Emergency Team (Nphet) provided a broadly positive update and gave the green light for the return of indoor hospitality in restaurants and pubs from July 5th.
The team confirmed that, as planned, hotels could reopen on June 2nd and outdoor hospitality could reopen from June 7th. Cinemas can also reopen from that same date, it said.
From July, the numbers permitted at outdoor organised events can increase to a maximum of 100 attendees at the majority of venues, Nphet also recommended. For larger venues such as outdoor stadia or other “fixed” outdoor venues with a minimum capacity of 5,000 this could rise to 200.
The number of guests at a wedding reception will rise to 50 people indoors in July, which will then increase to 100 in August, under the Nphet recommendations.
Nphet is also understood to have recommended that up to 5,000 spectators can attend outdoor events in large stadia such as Croke Park from August 2nd.
Smaller outdoor venues would have a limit of 500 people. Indoor events in larger venues could have a capacity of 200. Smaller indoor venues would be limited to 100 people, it is understood.
The Cabinet will sign off today on the plan after the three party leaders are meeting this morning to finalise the measures discussed at last night’s Cabinet sub-committee.