The Irish Times, 02/07/2021
People aged between 18 and 34 will be able to opt to receive the one-shot Johnson & Johnson (J&J) Covid-19 vaccine from selected pharmacies from Monday, the Health Service Executive (HSE) has said.
Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly said some 750 pharmacies across the State would be offering the service. Those seeking a jab will be required to book in advance with a participating outlet, a list of which can be viewed here.
Pharmacies reported being inundated with calls from people seeking to register following the announcement, with Social Democrats TD Róisín Shortall saying many pharmacists had been “blindsided” by the move.
The Minister appealed for the public to be patient with the revised schedule when they are looking for their vaccination because “right now, there isn’t one for everyone in the audience in July”.
He asked people to “bear in mind we’re doing this really quickly, it’s logistically very complex. It won’t run perfectly”.
The decision follows a change in advice from the National Immunisation Advisory Committee (Niac) to allow people aged under 40 to receive the J&J and AstraZeneca shots as the State seeks to widen the vaccine rollout amid concern about the spread of the more transmissible Delta variant of the disease.
Niac has said it was still preferable that those aged 18-49 receive mRNA vaccines such as Pfizer or Moderna due to the risk of rare blood clotting posed by the adenoviral shots.
However, given the urgency to complete vaccination of as many people as possible, it said AstraZeneca and J&J can be offered to younger people seeking protection.
Chief medical officer Dr Tony Holohan last night warned that an increase in infections driven by the Delta variant indicated a fourth wave of the pandemic was now beginning in Ireland.
Speaking in the Dáil on Friday, Mr Donnelly said pharmacies providing vaccines to the 18-34 cohort was part of a “significant acceleration” of the State inoculation programme.
He said the HSE’s online registration portal for mRNA vaccines would open for people aged 30 to 34 from next Friday. He said the current estimate was that people aged 25 to 29 would be able to register to receive a mRNA shot in early August with the 18-25 cohort following around mid-August.
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