Vaccine task force predicts August as end date for vaccination of Irish population
The prediction is based on expected vaccine approval and delivery schedules.
Professor Brian MacCraith, Chairperson of the High-Level Task Force on Covid-19 says that his team would be looking at the month of August "to being very close, or at the point of closing out the actual vaccination of as much of the population of Ireland that wants to receive vaccines."
Speaking to Morning Ireland on RTÉ Radio1, he said this projection was based off a "fairly positive scenario":
"It's impossible to be absolutely precise in this because it's all down to the availability of the vaccine. So in all our modelling we're looking at various authorisation and approval dates and we're looking at potential scales of arrival.
"It'll be down to the dates of approval, the manufacturing success of the companies themselves, the delivery schedules. What I can say this, we've looked out right into summer, midsummer. We can predict in one fairly positive scenario that we'd be looking at, say the month of August, over two million doses of vaccines arriving at a rate on average of about 530,000 vaccines per week and we'll be ready to deploy those vaccines.
"So, I think certainly if all things come to pass that are in that model in terms of expected approval dates, and expected delivery schedules, one would be looking at that stage of being very close, or at the point of closing out the actual vaccination of as much of the population of Ireland that want to receive vaccines.
MacCraith went on to outline the scale of vaccine roll-out required to vaccinate the eligible population.
"The Pfizer vaccine doesn't allow those under the age of 18 or pregnant women to be vaccinated, simply because there isn't evidence from the clinical trials for those cohorts.
"So we're looking about 75% of the population, 3.75 million. And if you say that's two doses per person, that's 7.5million vaccine doses, so that's the sort of number we have to use in our calculations."
The Chairperson of the High-Level Task Force also spoke about his pleasure at seeing the high number of Irish people who say they are willing to get the vaccine:
"We're pleased with the most recent survey, from the Red C Poll, just overnight, which is indicating that the majority of Irish people, that's over 70%, say they will get the Covid-19 vaccine and nearly 40% saying they will definitely get it. That's very positive. There's only about one in ten, 10% saying they definitely won't get it.
"So you'll see a rapidly growing communications campaign coming out addressing those issues and providing reassurance and listening to the concerns of citizens about questions they might have about this.
"But I think it's reassuring to know that at this stage, before the commencement of a very detailed comms campaign, that well over 70% are saying, yes, they'll take the vaccine."