From next week, those aged 30-39 will be asked to register for the Covid-19 vaccine despite supply shortages in the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.
The HSE expects to administer approximately 250,000 to 280,000 vaccine doses this week with pharmacies expected to begin assisting the vaccine programme by offering the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine while the Pfizer vaccine will be offered to communities that are far away from the nearest vaccination centre.
Vaccines are also being offered in prisons as well as being offered to socially vulnerable groups such as Travellers and the Roma community.
According to official figures, approximately 30,000 pregnant women are being offered vaccinations with 5,200 being administered so far. Supply shortages continue to affect the vaccination programme, which has not hit the numbers of up to 400,000 per week that ministers were hoping for.
It is hoped that these levels will be reached in the second half of June. The deliveries of the J&J vaccine have been extremely low, with deliveries being lower than the company’s ‘worst-case scenario’ of 14,000, as the HSE has only received 12,000 doses.
Ireland is expected to receive 17,000 doses of the single-dose jab next week with 10,000 being delivered the week after, and a further 27,000 the week after that.
When combined with the deliveries in April and May, this leaves health authorities approximately 400,000 doses shorter than what was hoped for. Pfizer also fell short both this week and last week with deliveries being down by about 30,000.
However, Pfizer has stated that they will make up for this shortfall in the last two weeks of the month. In regards to the AstraZeneca vaccine, there are plans to reduce the interval between the two doses from 16 weeks to 12 weeks.
With 420,000 second doses of the vaccine to be administered between June and August, reducing the interval will help bring the schedule forward by about three to four weeks.