Some 70 per cent of adults in Ireland will have been fully vaccinated against Covid-19 by the end of July, Taoiseach Micheál Martin has said.
Speaking on Newstalk radio, Mr Martin acknowledged the initial target of 82 per cent of adults with a first dose by the end of June was not going to be met.
“I think we are in a good position. I think the target we are aiming for is by the end of July – and this is a target dependent on supply – is that we will have 70 per cent fully vaccinated.”
The recent decision to shorten the interval between AstraZeneca doses would help the HSE hit the new target, he said, which was in line with where Europe “wants to be by the end of July.”
Mr Martin said June looked like being a very good month in terms of vaccination targets. “The last two weeks of June is looking good in terms of security of Pfizer/BioNTech in particular.”
He said the AstraZeneca situation was improving and that he had met with the company last week. “They have developed new capacities in Spain and Germany in terms of fill and finish so therefore they are looking better than perhaps they did earlier in the pandemic in terms of the supplying and giving us visibility of that supply over the next couple of weeks.
“That is two big issues for us. The two big vaccines at the moment – Pfizer is the workhorse, Moderna is doing fine and fulfilling its obligation, now AstraZeneca is coming in a bit stronger.”
However, Mr Martin cautioned that the supply of Johnson & Johnson vaccine was “not at all clear at this stage.”
He said he hoped all third level students would be vaccinated by the autumn for the return to campus. Mr Martin also said that good preparatory work was being done in Brussels on the vaccination of under-18s.
When asked about antigen testing, he said that it had a role to play, but the issue of its effectiveness remained. PCR testing was more robust from a public health point of view, he said.
Separately, it is expected that people aged 30-39 will be asked to register for their Covid-19 vaccination next week.