‘About 450,000’ people to get second AstraZeneca vaccine in coming five weeks

Taoiseach says impact of move to cut interval between doses will start to be seen

The Taoiseach said the increasing rates of vaccination have Ireland on course to participate in the EU Covid Digital Certificate.

The Taoiseach said the increasing rates of vaccination have Ireland on course to participate in the EU Covid Digital Certificate.


About 450,000 people are due to get their second AstraZeneca vaccine against Covid 19 before the end of July as the government moves to reduce the interval between doses, Taoiseach Micheál Martin has said.

Mr Martin said the government was working to reduce the intervals between the first and second doses of AstraZeneca from the initial recommended period of 12 weeks and people would begin to see the impact of that shortly.

“The interval between the two AstraZeneca doses was up to 12 weeks but all of this will be done now within five weeks - so about 450,000 people will be getting their second dose within five weeks,” said Mr Martin.

The AstraZeneca vaccine was used to vaccinate those between 50 and 70 and Mr Martin, who is aged 60, was among the first to receive it when he inoculated at Cork City Hall on May 9th.

Speaking in Carrigaline in Co Cork today, Mr Martin rejected suggestions that some people were opting not to get their second AstraZeneca doses and urged everyone to continue getting vaccinated as it protects everyone in society.

“For us, as a government, the uptake rate has been very positive - from our perspective we want to maintain that - there is no real evidence yet that there is a significant issue (with a fall off in the AstraZeneca vaccine take-up).

“But we are appealing to people that when you get the call to take your second vaccine, take it up because it will give you protection, it will give your family protection and it will give wider society protection.”

Mr Martin said that the vaccine take up rates in Ireland had been very impressive to date and Ireland was topping an EU league table in terms of participation in vaccine programmes.

“We want to maintain that as we move down through the age cohorts and the decision now to reduce the time lines for the second dose of AstraZeneca is positive and people will get the full vaccination much earlier than anticipated.”

Mr Martin welcomed news that the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control was reporting that with increasing levels of vaccination beginning to take effect, foreign travel was likely to become possible sooner.

“I think it’s very interesting and as we move, more research and more data gives us more confidence in terms of decision making around Covid and around the re-opening of society,” he said.

Ireland currently plans that from July 19th, subject to the prevailing health situation, it will operate the EU Digital Covid Certificate (DCC) for travel originating with the European Union or the European Economic Area.

The DCC will show if a passenger has been vaccinated against Covid 19 or has recovered from Covid-19 or has a negative test result and passengers arriving into Ireland with a DCC will not have to undergo quarantine.

Mr Martin said: “19th July is some weeks away yet but we are certainly on target to be part of the European framework in terms of the Covid Digital Certificate, which I think is a milestone.”

“It also gives a signal to the aviation industry that things are getting better for them as well because as a small open economy, we understand the centrality of aviation to the connectivity issue which is so important to us.”