Ireland’s Covid-19 vaccine rollout will slow down when it comes to vaccinating younger people in their 30s, according to the chief executive of the HSE.
Paul Reid said the vaccine rollout is reaching a “strong peak”, with 320,000 doses set to be administered this week and around 300,000 next week.
However, he said those levels are set to drop to 200,000 in July, when the vaccine rollout moves to two supply lines of jabs from Pfizer and Moderna.
The Government had previously set a target of 450,000 doses a week by mid-June, contingent on supply.
People aged between 35 and 39 will be able to register for their vaccines from Sunday, but Mr Reid has warned that this will be “a slower age group to move through”.
“Just to flag upfront, this will be a slower age group to move through based on volume, but particularly based on... the high level of dose two administrations we will have to do,” Mr Reid told media on Thursday.
“And also the fact that we do move to two supply lines in July, which is Moderna and Pfizer.”
He added: “The Pfizer supply drops down, but we no longer have usage for the AstraZeneca or Janssen [owned by Johnson & Johnson] vaccines, as we’re moving down below the age in which NIAC have recommended their use.
“So that combination means it’s not the same supply line that we’ve had for this level.
“It’s more graduated back to where it was, but there’s still reasonably strong lines from two suppliers so July will still be a good month, it will still be a strong month.”
There are about 710,000 people in the 30 to 39 age cohort, including about 380,000 aged 35 to 39 and roughly 310,000 aged 30 to 34.
An HSE briefing on Thursday heard it will take about three to four weeks to complete the 35 to 39 age cohort.
Approaching a third of the population are now fully vaccinated against Covid-19, Mr Reid said.
Around 61 per cent of people in Ireland have had their first vaccine dose and 31 per cent are fully vaccinated.
More than 3.4 million jabs have been administered to date, including over 2.3 million first doses and 1.2 million second doses.
Ireland has one of the strongest vaccination uptake rates in the European Union.
There is about 100 per cent take-up among people over 80, 97 per cent among the over-70s, 92 per cent among people aged 60 to 60, and 87 per cent among those aged 50 to 59.
Earlier on Thursday, Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly confirmed the vaccine registration portal will open to those aged 35 to 39 from Sunday.
Pharmacies around the country have also joined the national vaccine rollout effort today, beginning by offering the Johnson & Johnson jab, also known as Janssen.
Anyone over 50 who is not yet registered for their jab can ring a participating pharmacy to make an appointment to receive their dose.
—Additional reporting by Press Association.