The Irish Times view on the vaccination programme: keeping pace

Despite good progress, a very large proportion of the population remains unprotected from Covid-19

Helped by extremely high public take-up, almost 4.1 million doses have been administered in the Republic to date; last week alone some 340,000 shots went into people’s arms. Photograph: Sam Boal / RollingNews.ie

Helped by extremely high public take-up, almost 4.1 million doses have been administered in the Republic to date; last week alone some 340,000 shots went into people’s arms. Photograph: Sam Boal / RollingNews.ie

 

In the spring the Government set a target of giving at least one dose of a Covid-19 vaccine to 80 per cent of the adult population by the end of June. As of yesterday, 67 per cent had received a first dose.

In reality the Government has limited enough control over the speed of the rollout. Manufacturers AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson have not even come close to meeting their delivery pledges over the past three months, and several changes in the advice from the National Immunisation Advisory Committee (Niac) as to which vaccines can be used for different age cohorts have slowed down the programme.

Where the Government can influence the campaign is principally through getting shots into people’s arms as quickly as possible after they land on Irish soil, and on this the Health Service Executive (HSE) and its vaccination teams have done a remarkable job. Helped by extremely high public take-up, almost 4.1 million doses have been administered in the Republic to date; last week alone some 340,000 shots went into people’s arms. That’s a huge logistical feat.

Yet even with such high levels of coverage in the population, the need for continuing rapid rollout is intensifying rather than abating. That’s due to the spread of the highly transmissible Delta variant, which has prompted Government to pause the reopening. In that context, it would have been unthinkable to allow large stocks of effective vaccines to sit in storage due to cautious advice from Niac on the use of adenovirus-based vaccines in younger people. Fortunately Niac cleared the way for the use of those vaccines in younger cohorts earlier this week, meaning that pharmacies should be able to step up their own vaccines services in coming weeks.

Despite good progress, a very large proportion of the population remains unprotected from Covid-19. The HSE has said deliveries are now at their peak, implying that they will soon begin to reduce. That makes it all the more important to ensure that the system keeps pace with deliveries and that vaccines win the race against the variant.

The Irish Times Logo
Commenting on The Irish Times has changed. To comment you must now be an Irish Times subscriber.
SUBSCRIBE
GO BACK
Error Image
The account details entered are not currently associated with an Irish Times subscription. Please subscribe to sign in to comment.
Comment Sign In

Forgot password?
The Irish Times Logo
Thank you
You should receive instructions for resetting your password. When you have reset your password, you can Sign In.
The Irish Times Logo
Please choose a screen name. This name will appear beside any comments you post. Your screen name should follow the standards set out in our community standards.
Screen Name Selection

Hello

Please choose a screen name. This name will appear beside any comments you post. Your screen name should follow the standards set out in our community standards.

The Irish Times Logo
Commenting on The Irish Times has changed. To comment you must now be an Irish Times subscriber.
SUBSCRIBE
Forgot Password
Please enter your email address so we can send you a link to reset your password.

Sign In

Your Comments
We reserve the right to remove any content at any time from this Community, including without limitation if it violates the Community Standards. We ask that you report content that you in good faith believe violates the above rules by clicking the Flag link next to the offending comment or by filling out this form. New comments are only accepted for 3 days from the date of publication.