‘Vast majority’ of adults will have Covid vaccine by end of August - Reid

HSE chief says virus is ‘still a very live threat’ as cases continue to rise

Paul Reid says he believes there is more trust and a stronger connection between the public and the HSE because of the success of the vaccination programme. Photograph: Dara Mac Donaill

Paul Reid says he believes there is more trust and a stronger connection between the public and the HSE because of the success of the vaccination programme. Photograph: Dara Mac Donaill

 

The HSE’s chief executive Paul Reid has said he expected the “vast majority” of the country’s adult population will have been vaccinated against Covid-19 by the end of this month.

Mr Reid said with the six millionth vaccine administered this week, 89 per cent of the adult population has now had their first dose (3.2 million), while 76 per cent (2.85 million) are fully vaccinated.

Mr Reid told Newstalk Breakfast on Friday that he believes there is more trust and a stronger connection between the public and the HSE because of the success of the vaccination programme.

The portal to register children aged 12 to 15 years will open next Thursday with the first doses being administered early the following week through vaccination centres, GPs and pharmacies, he said.

“It’s a really strong momentum. I think we’re at a really encouraging and inspiring point of our vaccination programme,” he said.

When asked about recent public incidents where it appeared that Covid-19 guidelines had been broken, Mr Reid said while there was a lot of evidence that while people valued the protection of guidelines for themselves and others, people did get distracted and confused.

“We are so close to completing the vaccination programme, but equally we are so close to losing it all,” he warned.

There had been many instances across the country where the regulations had been breached while the number of cases continued to rise, he said.

“The virus is still a very live threat to us. We are still testing significant numbers. This is a threat to everyone,” he added.

Remain cautious

Meanwhile, the HSE’s Chief Clinical Officer Dr Colm Henry has urged people to remain cautious despite any change in guidelines.

“I would ask people whatever the regulations are, whatever the policy changes, is to just take care and make sure that you don’t let yourself be part of some gathering that can be an agent for transmission.

“I would be cautious about attending an outdoor gathering. I would be more confident in a few weeks’ time when we see the vaccine programme reach through more of our younger population,” Dr Henry said.

“There is still more work to do to complete the vaccination course for the 20s and 30s. I would like to see more completion of vaccination because we know with the Delta variant that the completed vaccination course affords great protection, whereas partial vaccination does not.”

The Cabinet sub-committee on Covid-19 will meet on Friday and is expected to discuss updates to hospitality industry guidelines on outdoor events.

Several Government Ministers are to push for the resumption of First Communions and Confirmations as controversy continues over a perceived inconsistency in public health guidelines surrounding gatherings.

It comes after the Government said certain outdoor events involving up to 200 people could go ahead, in a statement that it released following an event in the Merrion Hotel organised by former minister Katherine Zappone.

A further 1,491 cases of Covid-19 were reported in the State on Thursday.