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Vaccine shortages and constant change in priorities: HSE reveals the vaccination program in Ireland has already been revised 15-17 times

DUBLIN: HSE CEO Paul Reid reveals that Ireland’s vaccination plan has already been revised 15-17 times due to vaccine shortages and persistent changes in priorities. Paul Reid told the Joint Committee on Health Oireachtas that the experience related to vaccine distribution in the first three months of this year was a great disappointment.

The HSE CEO said that the supply of AstraZeneca and Moderna vaccines has not been confirmed to date. The 1.7 million doses of vaccine to be administered by the end of March have not yet arrived. Another 1.24 million vaccine doses may also not now be reached.

“Realistically we’re looking at 1.1 million [vaccine doses at the end of the month], going into 1.2 million in the first week of April,” he said. About 95% of the vaccine received will be used within a week. Therefore, unexpected delays in supply can completely change roll-out plans, Mr. Reid said. Last week, delays in the distribution of AstraZeneca missed the target of 100,000 jabs.

The HSE chief said there were issues in vaccinating GPs over the age of 85 last week. The vast majority of the 1,300 GPs received the vaccine. GPs who have not yet received the vaccines will receive them this week. Modern vaccines are not fully distributed.

Future plans…

The HSE CEO said he expects to receive 3.8 million vaccine doses in April, May and June. 600,000 Johnson & Johnson one-dose vaccine will be also added this week if approved by the European Union. If the vaccine is available as expected, it will be provided using 37 vaccination centers across the country. All these vaccination centers have 800 booths where vaccines can be administered. 5,000 vaccinations per day can be administered here.

According to the HSE register, there are 10,000 trained vaccinators. Mr. Reid said 2,200 more applications had been received under the national recruitment campaign. The vaccination centres will be open for 12 hours a day.

“As we move into those in April, it’ll be through a combination of GPs, pharmacies and vaccination centres,” Reid said.

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