Taoiseach to discuss vaccine problems with HSE and taskforce

ireland
Taoiseach To Discuss Vaccine Problems With Hse And Taskforce
Taoiseach Micheál Martin will discuss vaccine issues with the HSE before a Cabinet meeting.
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James Cox

Redrawn plans to take account of the problems with the availability of the AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson vaccines could be ready as early as today.

But senior figures in the Department of Health were not expecting them to be finalised by the time the Cabinet meets at 10am.

Taoiseach Micheál Martin will be briefed by the HSE and the head of the vaccine taskforce Brian MacCraith, following on from discussions they had with Health Minister Stephen Donnelly last night.

Johnson & Johnson pause

There is worry among some Cabinet Ministers over what the pause in Johnson & Johnson delivery will mean if it becomes a long term issue, though as just 41,000 doses were due to arrive this month there's hopes the time could be made up.

Minister Donnelly has also said all those who were due to have an AstraZeneca vaccine this week, but had appointments cancelled, will know how they stand in the coming days.

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The closure of bookings for mandatory hotel quarantine because of a lack capacity was a risk well flagged by some Ministers and the issue could inflame tensions at the cabinet table again.

There is “extreme concern” in Government about the unfolding vaccine delays, according to The Irish Times.

Government sources said one option would be to space out the doses of the vaccines that are still being administered.

The source added that the idea could 'prove attractive' to both Government and the HSE and that it will be considered by the National Immunisation Advisory Committee (Niac).

Rapid rollout

Mixing doses will also be considered while AstraZeneca could be rapidly rolled out to the 60-69 age group to keep momentum going in the State's vaccination programme.

Meanwhile, sources said the pause of bookings for the State's mandatory hotel quarantine system will last for four days.

There are concerns that people will try to get around this by flying to Belfast or London first, before travelling to Ireland.

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