Minister for Health, Stephen Donnelly has confirmed that community vaccinations against Covid-19 will begin in mid-February. Mr Donnelly also confirmed that vaccines will be first administered to elderly people aged over 85.
It will be then given to people aged between 80-84, 75-79 and then 70-74.
The Health Minister did say that this will only happen when the Astrazeneca Jab is approved in the weeks ahead.
Mr Donnelly said, “The next stage of our vaccine programme will begin with those aged 85 years and older. It will be administered initially through GPs in their surgeries”.
He also added, “The HSE is preparing a public information campaign that will provide all necessary details in advance. This will ensure that everyone knows when, where and how to access their vaccine”.
Mr Donnelly said that vaccinating the “most vulnerable to Covid-19 infection” is the priority. He also confirmed that every care home resident has received at least one dose of the vaccine, up until this point.
“Lower end of the range”
Mr Donnelly said that Ireland will receive delivery of this Astrazeneca vaccine at the lower end of the range next month.
Mr Donnelly explained,“Despite anticipated disruption to deliveries, which was announced on Friday 22 January, Ireland will receive a delivery of AstraZeneca vaccine within the expected range for February, although at the lower end of that range”.
These doses will be delivered to GPs as part of the deal agreed with Government recently.
Workers & care home residents “a priority” – Donnelly
The Health Minister stated that most care home residents, with the exception of those who recently tested positive for the virus, have been vaccinated. Mr Donnelly also confirmed that the vaccination of healthcare workers will continue to be a priority in the coming weeks.
Donnelly said, “Healthcare workers are also a priority. Second doses will be administered over the coming weeks to 77,000 healthcare workers. We will continue to roll out first and second doses to our remaining frontline healthcare workers during February”.
The Health Minister continued, “Our vaccination teams were unable to vaccinate some nursing homes residents and staff who had Covid-19 recently, or vaccinate those in some facilities where there were particularly large outbreaks”.
“I would like to reassure those staff and residents that they will be prioritised and vaccinated as soon as possible. In line with the guidelines drawn up by our National Immunisation Advisory Council”.
“The HSE administered 143,000 vaccine doses to Sunday, January 24. I would like to thank the HSE, members of the High-Level Task Force on Covid-19 Vaccination, and their teams, for the effort and commitment they are putting into the efficient roll out of the vaccine programme”.