The time has come to open up the Covid-19 vaccine registration portal to all age groups in Ireland, according to a Cork-based GP.
Dr Phil Kieran said the Government’s age-based rollout had reached a point where there was no longer a “significant” medical risk for severe Covid-19 between the age groups waiting to register.
Anyone aged 35 and older can currently register for a Covid-19 vaccine in the Republic.
“I personally think that we should just be opening up vaccination at this stage, allowing registration for all across the board,” he told Newstalk radio.
“I don’t really think that the medical risk between a 25-year-old and a 35-year-old is significant.”
It comes as health officials are considering a change to the State's vaccine rollout amid concern over the Delta variant, with consideration being given to the option of administering the AstraZeneca vaccine to a younger cohort.
Dr Kieran said he believed it would be best to offer younger people some protection sooner rather than later.
“In an ideal world where we had [an] infinite amount of vaccines, I would love to be giving them all an mRNA vaccine. But at this stage, particularly with the prospect of new variants coming in, I think we would be safer to vaccinate as many people as possible now,” he said.
“If we need to give a top-up with an mRNA vaccine when more of them become available, I think we would do that.”
Have just been told that 40% of eligible adults will be fully-vaccinated by the end of today.
Great news - and a fantastic achievement by all involved in Ireland’s #CovidVaccine rollout.
— Micheál Martin (@MichealMartinTD) June 25, 2021
On Friday, the Taoiseach said 40 per cent of the State’s adult population will be fully vaccinated by the end of the day.
Earlier, Micheál Martin said vaccines from AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson should be reconsidered for younger age groups to fight the spread of the Delta variant.
Speaking at a meeting of the European Council in Brussels on Friday, he said the “balance of risk” had changed due to the more transmissible variant.
Chief medical officer Dr Tony Holohan is to consult with the National Immunisation Advisory Committee (Niac) on the issue, which previously advised the vaccines not be given to people under 50 over concerns around rare incidents of blood clotting.
It comes as a nationwide delay to the return of indoor hospitality is looking increasingly likely, amid concerns about a surge of the Delta variant, first identified in India.
A further 380 cases of Covid-19 were confirmed in the Republic on Friday. There are 38 people hospitalised with the disease, and 13 people in intensive care. Data on deaths remains unavailable due to a cyberattack on the health service.