The HSE should supply the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine to pharmacies participating in the Covid vaccination programme, the secretary general of the Irish Pharmacy Union has said.
Darragh O’Loughlin told Newstalk radio that pharmacies had received all the available supplies of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine with the next delivery scheduled for late August.
In the past two weeks over 100,000 people aged 18 to 34 have received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine in almost 800 appointed pharmacies around the country.
Mr O'Loughlin said this showed the enthusiasm of Irish young people and was “extraordinary” and “very encouraging”.
That “dip in supply” would mean a drop in vaccinations in pharmacies unless the HSE was prepared to send Pfizer vaccines, he said.
It would be a shame to let that fall away, given the momentum of the scheme through pharmacies, he said.
There was an ease in going to a local pharmacy, for many it was closer to home and people had a relationship with their pharmacist whom they knew and trusted and of whom they felt comfortable asking questions.
Later on RTÉ radio’s Morning Ireland, Mr O’Loughlin said that pharmacists were also seeing older people who had not been vaccinated in the vaccination centres now availing of the programme through their local pharmacy.
There had also been an issue of some young people registering with multiple pharmacies in their eagerness to get the vaccine and then when they were called to schedule an appointment they apologised saying they had received it elsewhere. This was understandable, but was frustrating when it came to scheduling.
It was tremendous that young people were so keen to be vaccinated, they did not just want it for themselves, they wanted to protect their families. Such a response was very encouraging, he said.