Ireland is equally close to completing its Covid-19 vaccination programme or “losing it all,” the chief of the health service has said.
HSE chief executive Paul Reid said progress made to contain Covid-19 could be lost if people became distracted or confused when it came to the guidelines and restrictions in place.
“We are so close to completing the vaccination programme, but equally we are so close to losing it all,” he told Newstalk Breakfast.
“The virus is still a very live threat to us. We are still testing significant numbers. This is a threat to everyone.”
Asked about recent public incidents were it appeared that guidelines had been broken, Mr Reid said there was a lot of evidence that people valued the protection of guidelines for themselves and others, but people did get distracted and confused.
There had been many instances across the country where the regulations had been breached while the number of cases continued to rise, he warned.
Mr Reid said he believed Ireland was now at an “encouraging and inspiring” point of its vaccine rollout.
“It’s a really strong momentum. I think we’re at a really encouraging and inspiring point of our vaccination programme,” he said.
He added that he expects the “vast majority” of the country’s adult population will be vaccinated by the end of August.
With the six millionth dose administered this week, Mr Reid said that 89 per cent of the adult population has now had their first dose (3.2 million), while 76 per cent (2.85 million) are fully vaccinated.
The portal to register children aged 12 to 15 years for vaccination will open next Thursday, with the first doses being administered early the following week through vaccination centres, GPs and pharmacies, he said.
Mr Reid said he hoped that there was now a stronger relationship between the health service and the public because of the success of the vaccination campaign. The HSE was now more trusted and there was a stronger connection with the public, he said.