Boost for vaccine rollout: Johnson and Johnson approved, AstraZeneca advice revised

ireland
Boost For Vaccine Rollout: Johnson And Johnson Approved, Astrazeneca Advice Revised Boost For Vaccine Rollout: Johnson And Johnson Approved, Astrazeneca Advice Revised
Used vials of the Janssen Covid-19 vaccine. Photo: Michael Ciaglo/Getty Images
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Ireland’s vaccination programme received a double boost on Monday night when the National Immunisation Advisory Committee (Niac) gave the go-ahead for the Johnson & Johnson (J&J) vaccine and relaxed its restrictions on the AstraZeneca jab.

The decision will enable a quicker rollout – the HSE could begin administering the single-dose J&J shot this week.

Allowing the use of the J&J vaccine for the over-50s, along with the change in the AstraZeneca guidelines to a similar regime, will enable a speedy rollout, sources involved in the process told The Irish Times.

The committee also said the J&J vaccine could be used for those under 50 for whom another vaccine was not available and for people in difficult to reach communities.

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The advice will now be considered by the chief medical officer, Dr Tony Holohan, before he briefs Government.

Dr Holohan and his colleagues on the National Public Health Emergency Team (Nphet) are due to meet on Wednesday before advising the Government on the plan for reopening, which is likely to be approved by the Cabinet on Thursday.

Vaccine target

The chairman of the GP committee of the Irish Medical Organisation, Dr Denis McCauley, said the decision by Niac means the target of vaccinating 80 per cent of the population by the end of June can still be met.

The availability of the two vaccines meant there could be in excess of 4 million doses in the next quarter, he told Newstalk Breakfast.

All the vaccines were really safe with a very small risk, which was less than one in a million, he added.

The June target was still achievable and the availability of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine meant that the rollout programme could “catch up”.

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