This week saw several major developments in the Covid-19 vaccine rollout in the Republic, as the State draws closer to the million-vaccination mark.
A milestone 120,000 doses were administered last week, with the Government aiming to administer a total of one million doses by April 7th.
The week was also marked by the Government's controversial decision to overhaul Ireland’s vaccine priority list, with a new system set to proceed on the basis of age alone.
The change will come into effect once the most vulnerable and people over the age of 70 have been vaccinated, as the Government holds firm in its stance that age is the biggest risk factor for severe Covid-19 and that the change will “simplify and accelerate” the nationwide rollout.
Vaccinations will open for the various age-specific groups from May onwards, the Minister for Health clarified on Wednesday.
Stephen Donnelly said his department hopes to provide details for each age specific group as to when they can expect their vaccines in the coming weeks.
A website allowing people to register for vaccination will available from the third week in April and the Government intends to vaccinate 80 per cent of the adult population by the end of June, the Taoiseach Micheál Martin also confirmed.
However, with the Government yet to clarify exactly when the revised rollout will reach each age cohort, an updated online calculator based on the State’s priority list and vaccination rate can help indicate when members of the population can expect their jab.
The vaccine queue calculator, developed by Southampton-based physicist Steven Wooding in partnership with Maciej Kowalski, a mathematician based in Poland, has been updated to take account of the latest changes to Ireland’s priority list.
The calculator is continuing to improve in accuracy as the State’s rollout progresses, as it provides answers based on Ireland’s current vaccination rate rather than vaccine deliveries.
Mr Wooding confirmed the answers produced by the calculator are “cautious” and conservative, as it does not currently factor in the State’s vaccination rate ramping up later in the year as vaccine deliveries likely increase.
The vaccine calculator is currently based on a vaccination rate of 129,227 doses per week, updated from a previous 81,000.
The tool estimates how many people are ahead of a person in Ireland’s vaccination queue of almost five million people, and provides an estimated date range within which they can expect a first and second dose.
The calculation is also automatically based on a vaccine uptake rate of 74 per cent, which can be adjusted in the “Rollout of vaccines” section of the calculator.
The vaccine calculator is not linked to the HSE or any official agency related to Ireland’s vaccine rollout.