Everyone aged between 60 and 69 will get their second dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine within 10 days, the Taoiseach confirmed last night.
Micheál Martin, speaking at a Fianna Fáil parliamentary party meeting, promised that all second doses would be completed by July 18th.
He was replying after Fianna Fáil TDs and Senators raised concerns that their constituents had been told by the HSE that their second AstraZeneca jabs would not come until late July or early August, The Irish Times reports.
Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly insisted they would “all be done” by July 18th.
However, Mr Martin warned that unvaccinated people should be careful over the next few weeks.
Mr Donnelly also said people aged 30-34 who have registered on the vaccine portal should start receiving their appointment dates next week.
Yesterday, health officials warned that the North is in the “early stages of a significant further wave” amid a “big push” to get as many people vaccinated as possible.
Modelling published by the North’s chief scientific officer Ian Young outlined the “most likely” scenario of 2000-3,000 new cases per day towards the beginning of August.
“It is inevitable that as cases increase so admissions and bed occupancy in hospitals will increase followed by patients requiring critical care treatment and unfortunately deaths,” said Prof Young.
“The increase is going to be less than in previous waves because vaccination has weakened the link between case numbers and hospital admissions, but it hasn’t abolished it.”
A further 581 Covid-19 cases were confirmed in the Republic on Monday.
As of 8am on Wednesday, there was 60 people with the virus in hospital, 17 of whom were being treated in intensive care.
'Spread of disease'
Chief medical officer Dr Tony Holohan said it is important that we “do as much as possible to control the spread of the disease” as the vaccine programme opens to all adults over 18.
Immunologist Professor Luke O’Neill has described the failure to fully vaccinate all the over-60 cohort as “a travesty”.
Over-60s who received the AstraZeneca vaccine should have received their second dose by now, he told RTÉ radio’s Today with Claire Byrne show on Wednesday, but he added that they should have been given an mRNA vaccine for their second dose.