Uptake of Covid-19 vaccines in Ireland the ‘envy of Europe’

Ability of virus to cause harm is significantly reduced, HSE chief clinical officer says

Half of all adults in the Republic have received at least one Covid-19 vaccine dose, according to the Health Service Executive. Photograph: Michele Spatari/AFP via Getty

Half of all adults in the Republic have received at least one Covid-19 vaccine dose, according to the Health Service Executive. Photograph: Michele Spatari/AFP via Getty

 

Uptake of Covid-19 vaccines in Ireland is the envy of Europe, Dr Colm Henry, chief clinical officer of the Health Service Executive (HSE), has said, adding that the ability of the virus to cause harm is “significantly reduced”.

After the HSE confirmed half of all adults have received at least one jab so far, Dr Henry said the “uptake of this vaccine has been astonishing”.

“Over 80 years of age, 98 per cent of eligible people have taken it; 70-79 year olds took it in their droves, 95 per cent; 60-69 year olds – we were worried because it was the AstraZeneca vaccine – almost 90 per cent uptake,” he said. “And so it is with 50-59 years olds, and so on right down.”

The latest data on the number of vaccines administered in the Republic have not been available since the cyberattack on the HSE.

However, speaking to Newstalk, Dr Henry said: “We are seeing levels here of uptake and engagement and enthusiasm that is the envy of the rest of Europe, and we are seeing the results of it come through in the collapse in the number of cases , the collapse in harm that is caused among vulnerable people.”

The ability of the virus to cause harm has “certainly significantly reduced”, he said, adding: “We’ve really given this virus a kick in the you-know-what.”

On the target to have 80 per cent of adults vaccinated by the end of June, Dr Henry said “it is hard to say” that it will definitely be met because of supply difficulties.

The booking portal for getting vaccinated will open to 40-45 year olds later this week, he added.