Niac will monitor timescale between first and second vaccine doses

Niac Will Monitor Timescale Between First And Second Vaccine Doses Niac Will Monitor Timescale Between First And Second Vaccine Doses
Dr Colm Henry
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Vivienne Clarke

The HSE’s chief clinical officer Dr Colm Henry has said that Niac (National Immunisation Advisory Committee) will continue to monitor the most efficient timescale for mRNA vaccines.

All evidence was being reviewed, Dr Henry told RTÉ radio’s Morning Ireland, when asked if the timescale between first and second doses could be lengthened to free up more vaccines.

Dr Henry also explained that part of the distribution difficulties being experienced at present were because originally the vaccine rollout had been planned using the more easily transported AstraZeneca vaccine.


It was important to remember that vaccination was just part of the public health response to Covid-19, he said. While the issue of delays in stock were disappointing, the rollout of the vaccination programme to date was having a real impact where there were “collapsing rates” in nursing homes and hospitals.


The number of healthcare workers being affected had dropped from 1,000 in the middle of January to just 45 at the end of February, he added.

However, he warned “there’s still a lot of it out there” and precautions were necessary as long as Covid was circulating in society.

When asked about the possibility of antigen testing being used in schools, Dr Henry said such testing was used as part of outbreak response. It was effective when being used to test symptomatic individuals, but its sensitivity was less sensitive in asymptomatic individuals.

“It is a rapid test, but the trade off is lower sensitivity, which could lead towards a false sense of security.”

On the same programme the Minister for Children Roderic O’Gorman said the Government was “deeply frustrated” that the commitments made by pharmaceutical companies about the delivery of vaccines were not being met.

As soon as vaccines arrived they were being distributed, he said.


When asked about the possibility of restrictions being lifted, the Minister said that any lessening of restrictions would have to be tailored in conjunction with the rollout of the vaccination programme.

The Level 5 restrictions were working, real progress was being made with the number of cases reducing. Vaccination was a key element in getting the Level 5 measures reduced, he said.

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