Tanaiste Leo Varadkar

Tanaiste Admits To Difficulties In Getting Vaccines To GPs

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The Tánaiste has admitted there has been issues with the vaccine roll-out plan amid criticism of the HSE by government TDs.

Leo Varadkar has blamed an under-delivery from AstraZeneca for missing last week’s target of 100,000 vaccinations.

Parliamentary party meetings of Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil saw some TDs vent on issues around the vaccine roll-out.

Former Minister Regina Doherty and TD Fergus O’Dowd raised concerns at Fine Gael’s meeting with sources saying some TDs were unhappy that some GPs in their constituencies had yet to get vaccine doses.

At the Fianna Fáil meeting former Minister Dara Calleary criticised the roll-out of the vaccine by the HSE and the pace being set.

The criticisms were echoed in the Dáil this afternoon by Sinn Féin’s Pearse Doherty:

You have to ask and the people are asking what is happening here? What is the situation because there has been a lengthy lead in time. We all knew that we would need to deliver the logistics in relation to a vaccination programme because the uncertainty is causing huge anxiety.”

Tánaiste Leo Varadkar admitted in the Dáil that some of the concerns from his party members were justified:

I appreciate that there have been some issues and have been some delays. A consignment of 25,000 astrazeneca vaccins that we had expected to arrive last week did not arrive at short notice.”

Some government TDs are also unhappy at the HSE missing vaccine targets that TDs will take the political fallout for.

Meanwhile it’s estimated around 200 GP surgeries still haven’t received any covid vaccines yet for the over 85s.

But the HSE is insisting it’s on target to administer the first dose to this age cohort by the end of the week.

Chair of the GP Sub Committee on the IMO, Dr Denis McCauley thinks the target will be met, but cracks are starting to appear:

This week there was actual 24 hour notice. There was people who were expecting deliveries today and were only being told yesterday and you can’t really organise a group of 85-year-olds that quickly, so it has been good (the rollout), but this week it has been worrying.”