Mpox vaccine appointments to be made available up until end of February, Cabinet to be told

Stephen Donnelly will also update Ministers on ‘improving situation’ inside emergency departments

Nearly 5,000 Mpox vaccines have been administered and appointments will continue to be available up until the end of February, the Cabinet will be told this morning.

Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly will update Ministers this afternoon on the current Mpox situation and on the progress of a targeted vaccination programme.

He will tell Ministers that surveillance is continuing and that the current epidemiological situation notes that there were a total of 227 cases notified by the end of December, with no cases in weeks 50 and 51 of 2022.

The vaccination programme will continue and appointments will available up until the end of February 2023.


The HSE believes that between 6,000 and 12,000 vaccinations would be of greatest benefit from a prevention programme. As of January 1st, just under 5,000 vaccine doses have been administered.

Mr Donnelly will tell the Cabinet that it remains the case that mass vaccination is currently not required nor recommended.

He will also provide an update on what sources say is an “improving situation” in emergency departments.

Wednesday’s Cabinet meeting will take place at Farmleigh House, the official Irish State Guesthouse, in the Phoenix Park.

It it intended that the setting will allow for more informal discussions than the Cabinet room in Government Buildings or Dublin Castle, the usual locations for Cabinet meetings.

The meeting will be split into two parts, the first dealing with agenda items and the second allowing time for Ministers to have off-topic discussions in what is being described as “a listening, feedback exercise”.

It is expected that Minsters will set out their priorities for the first half of 2023.

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar previously held away day Cabinet meetings in Derrynane House, Co Kerry and Cork City Hall during his first term as taoiseach.

Another away day meeting is being planned for June or July, though the location is not yet decided upon.

Meanwhile, Minister for Housing Darragh O’Brien is also expected to bring an update to Cabinet on the current levels of homelessness.

Figures released last week show that the number of people living in emergency accommodation has risen to a record 11,542, in defiance of a winter ban on evictions that was supposed to curtail rising homelessness.

The most recent data shows there were 2,443 more homeless people in November 2022 than in the same period in 2021, a 26.8 per cent rise in 12 months as the housing shortage intensified. The number of homeless people rose by 145 between October and November.

Separately, the Cabinet is also expected to affirm the decision to appoint Oonagh Buckley as the interim chair of An Bord Pleanála. Substantial changes in the governance of the board were included in the Heads of the Development and Foreshore (Amendment) Bill 2022, published last year by Mr O’Brien, which sets out to rectify some of the flaws that came to light following serious allegations of conflict of interest against former deputy chairman Paul Hyde.

Jennifer Bray

Jennifer Bray

Jennifer Bray is a Political Correspondent with The Irish Times

Cormac McQuinn

Cormac McQuinn

Cormac McQuinn is a Political Correspondent at The Irish Times