HSE boss says 860,000 doses of Covid-19 vaccines expected to be given in April
Paul Reid declines to give detailed rollout figures for weekly injections
HSE chief executive Paul Reid said around 5,500 of the 11,000 trained vaccinators in the country are HSE staff. Photograph: Leon Farrell/Photocall Ireland
HSE chief executive Paul Reid said he expects approximately 860,000 Covid-19 vaccinations to be administered this month but will not say how many will be given each week.
Mr Reid also declined to say how many vaccinators will be available per week to give the injections but he insisted “we’re well resourced for the stage we’re at in the programme”.
Broad estimates of more than 200,000 vaccines per week being administered before the end of the month were offered by the head of the vaccination task force Professor Brian MacCraith.
However, Mr Reid declined to get into specifics on how the 860,000 target will be reached.
His remarks came as Taoiseach Micheál Martin joined Mr Reid and Mr MacCraith on a tour of the vaccination centre at the Citywest Convention Centre in Co Dublin.
Mr Martin said close to 1 million people will have received a vaccination by the end of the day.
He also said an online portal for people in the 65 to 69 years age group to register for vaccination is to open on April 19th as part of the next phase of the programme, which he said is significantly reducing the level of severe illness, hospitalisation and mortality.
Mr Martin said that close to 4 million doses of the vaccine are to be delivered in the next three months – with 930,000 in April, 1.2 million in May and around 1.7 million in June.
He said it’s a “step change” in contrast to the first three months of the year.
Mr Martin said around 18 per cent of people have had a first dose and 7.5 per cent have had two.
Mr McCraith said there will be a “ramping up” of vaccination centres and vaccinators over the next three months.
He said that towards the end of April and “certainly into May” there will be more than 200,000 vaccinations happening per week.
Mr MacCraith said approximately 125,000 vaccinations were administered last week.
He said vaccine deliveries have stabilised and on the recruitment of vaccinators he said “we’re matching infrastructure and vaccinator workforce to the supplies themselves.”
Mr Reid said around 5,500 of the 11,000 trained vaccinators in the country are HSE staff.*
He said just over 1,000 more people have been recruited and have either begun work or have a start date in the coming weeks.
He said more than 1,500 more are in the pipeline as well, with around half of those in the process of validation before they’re offered contracts.
Mr Reid insisted: “we’re well resourced for the stage we’re at in the programme” and he added: “we will step up that resourcing further again as we get into June.”
He said that Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly said that approximately 860,000 vaccines will be administered in April.
Mr Reid said the HSE expects up to 30 vaccination centres to be operating during the month, up from 14.
He did not provide weekly figures for the number of vaccines that will be administered not the number of vaccinators working.
Asked why he was reluctant to do so he replied it’s because weekly figures are related to the supply each week. He said: “Each week in April it varies and our numbers of vaccinators will vary, depending on those supplies.”
Separately, Mr Martin was asked if the Government has sought an update on the review of vaccinations at the Beacon Hospital.
Lawyer Eugene McCague was asked to conduct a review by the board of the hospital after it emerged last month that teachers from a private school were vaccinated ahead of their place on the vaccine allocation list that was in operation at the time.
Mr Martin said he expects Mr Donnelly to get Mr McCague’s report when it is completed but the Government hasn’t had an update yet.
He said he himself articulated public anger at what happened saying: “very clearly these vaccines belong to the Irish people and they should not have been used in that way.”
He described it as “a breach of trust” and “unacceptable”.
Mr Martin said the use of the hospital as a vaccination centre has been suspended but that it’s a private facility and “doesn’t fall within sanctions from the Government”.
*Article amended at 10am on April 8th, 2021