Number of fully vaccinated people in 60s lagging behind younger groups

AstraZeneca vaccine has been used on those aged 50 to 70, but there is concern it is only 33% effective against the Delta variant after the first jab

HSE chief executive Paul Reid: he is expected to tell Wednesday’s committee meeting that more than 3.6m vaccines have been administererd

HSE chief executive Paul Reid: he is expected to tell Wednesday’s committee meeting that more than 3.6m vaccines have been administererd

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The number of people aged in their 60s who are fully vaccinated against Covid-19 is lagging behind those in their 40s and 50s.

HSE figures show that as of Sunday, June 20th, more than 122,000 people aged between 60 and 69 had been fully vaccinated.

There are about 490,000 in this age group in the State, the vast majority of whom have registered for vaccines.

The number who have been fully vaccinated so far is less than a quarter of the over 542,000 people aged between 40 and 59 who had their vaccinations completed by the end of last week.

More than 397,000 people in their 50s are said to be fully vaccinated, along with over 145,000 people in their 40s.

These numbers include people who were given the one-shot Janssen vaccine.

The figures are contained in a briefing for TDs and Senators ahead of an appearance by HSE chief executive Paul Reid at the Oireachtas Committee on Health today (Wednesday).

The two-dose AstraZeneca vaccine has been used to inoculate people aged between 50 to 70 but there is concern that it is only 33 per cent effective against the more highly transmissible Delta variant of Covid-19 after the first jab.

After two doses AstraZeneca’s protection against symptomatic disease from the Delta variant rises to 60 per cent.

The gap between doses of AstraZeneca has been cut from 12 to eight weeks but the wait time is still longer than for other vaccines many younger people are getting - with the wait time between doses of Pfizer and Moderna just four weeks - leaving them fully protected before some people in their 60s.

The Labour Party has been raising the issue of the use of the AstraZeneca vaccines for those in their 60s and calling for administration of the second dose to be expedited.

Party leader Alan Kelly said on Tuesday that people in their 60s should be fully vaccinated as part of the fight against the Delta variant before non-essential international travel is due to resume on July 19th.

The HSE said on Tuesday: “It is expected that the accelerated programme to bring people their second dose will be completed by the week commencing the 19th of July.”

Key objective

Mr Reid is expected to tell Wednesday’s committee meeting that more than 3.6 million vaccines have been administered, including 1.3 million people who have received a second or single dose.

His opening statement says: “Our key objective in prioritising vaccine cohorts is to protect the most vulnerable.It is apparent, given the major falloff in hospitalisation and in mortality, that we are achieving this.”

The HSE update to the committee also includes details of the vaccination rollout to socially vulnerable groups.

It says there will be delays in the referral process for members of the Traveller and Roma communities due to the recent cyberattack on the HSE, but it is “working to resolve these issues as quickly as possible”.

Pharmacies began administering Janssen vaccines to the over-50s and there is said to be “strong interest from Traveller families and other socially vulnerable groups”.