Government considers extending gap between Pfizer vaccine doses

Government Considers Extending Gap Between Pfizer Vaccine Doses Government Considers Extending Gap Between Pfizer Vaccine Doses
The Government is considering extending the interval between doses. Photo: Justin Tallis/Pool/Getty Images
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The State is considering extending the gap between inoculations of the Pfizer Covid-19 vaccine to more than four weeks to keep the vaccine programme on track while other jabs are restricted, the Minister for Health has said.

“We are looking for options for how we can keep the pace of the vaccine programme going given the news we've had” on restrictions to AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson vaccines, Stephen Donnelly told journalists.

“Certainly extending the interval for Pfizer beyond the four weeks is something that is being looked at,” he said.

The Cabinet discussed issues with both the vaccine rollout and mandatory quarantine at a meeting on Wednesday morning.

The Government accepted advice to suspend the AstraZeneca vaccine for those under 60 on Monday following advice from the National Immunisation Advisory Council (Niac).


On Tuesday, the Johnson & Johnson suspension in the United States was revealed, with the European rollout subsequently stalled.

Mr Donnelly said the two setbacks had presented health authorities with a “logistical headache”.

He told RTÉ One: “There’s no question that if it follows through that there are restrictions (on Johnson & Johnson), there’s no question that would require serious re-profiling of the programme.”

Asked if restrictions on the product would delay the vaccine programme, and consequently the reopening of society, Mr Donnelly replied: “There’s no question if we had to fully pull the Janssen or the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, there’s no question, you can’t vaccinate as many people with less vaccines.”

Extra Pfizer

Meanwhile, 50 million additional doses of the Pfizer Covid vaccine have been secured by the European Union this quarter, with 545,000 set to be delivered to the Republic.

It comes as the European Commission President revealed 100 million Covid vaccinations have been administered across the EU to date.

Ursula von der Leyen said the deliveries will take the total EU supply of Pfizer vaccines to 250 million for the second quarter of the year.

Taoiseach Micheál Martin tweeted: “Welcome news that Ireland will be receiving close to 545,000 extra BioNTech-Pfizer vaccines, starting this month.” – Additional reporting: Reuters

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