Waning supplies of the Janssen Covid-19 vaccine nationwide could impact the current pace of Ireland’s vaccine rollout, according to the Irish Pharmacy Union (IPU).
The IPU has called for all vaccinating pharmacies to be supplied with the Pfizer vaccine as soon as possible to facilitate younger people who are waiting to be vaccinated.
It said that as of today, pharmacies in the vaccination programme have vaccinated over 150,000 people in their local communities since the service was launched in June, with over 100,000 of these in the 18-29 age group.
However, it warned that of the almost 1,000 pharmacies currently participating in the programme, only 320 were administering the Pfizer vaccine after selection by the HSE.
Applicants still coming forward
“We are seeing very strong community support for local vaccination, with thousands of applicants still coming forward and 150,000 already vaccinated,” IPU secretary general Darragh O’Loughlin said.
“Pharmacists can continue to make further strong progress if all participating pharmacies are supplied with the Pfizer vaccine and this is particularly the case as younger people are being invited to receive a vaccine.
“The strong demand and positive feedback to date has highlighted the benefits of providing vaccination in local community pharmacies. The vaccination centres have performed admirably but they have their limitations.
Over half of the Irish population lives within one kilometre of a pharmacy
“Travel to vaccine centres, the potential for long queues and the overall time required could be a disincentive to some people.
“Over half of the Irish population lives within one kilometre of a pharmacy and 85 per cent live within five kilometres.”
It comes as the Cabinet has agreed to extend Ireland’s Covid-19 vaccine rollout to those aged 12 to 15 years old.
The first walk-in Covid-19 vaccination centres in the country are also to open this weekend to encourage uptake among younger people, the Taoiseach has confirmed.