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27th Jan 2021

Stephen Donnelly goes back on aim to have entire population vaccinated by September

The Health Minister is claiming he never made such a promise and that September was simply the “aspiration”.

The Health Minister has rowed back on claims that everyone in Ireland will receive the COVID-19 vaccination by September. In an interview broadcast on RTÉ, Stephen Donnelly also admitted that many of the new restrictions announced by the government are simply an “outline” and work remains to be done.

Since the government announcements that Level 5 restrictions will remain until March 5th, a number of concerns have been raised by Ministers around the specific detail of the plans, particularly to do with travel restrictions. The Labour Party’s Alan Kelly recently called the government’s travel restrictions “half-baked”, and say that stronger measures “have to be put in”.

Speaking about the vaccination rollout, Mr Donnelly said his recent announcement on the rollout of vaccines “wasn’t a promise” as it was “heavily caveated”, he added:

“I said September, September is absolutely still the aspiration. It’s not a promise. We can’t promise for all of those reasons because it’s a projection based partly on vaccinations that haven’t even been applied for authorisation and on delivery schedules that still have to be fully agreed.”

Mr.Donnelly speaking on RTÉ’s Today with Claire Byrne

Mr Donnelly then went on to say that, “If the vaccines come through that we have advanced purchases for, they’re authorised and if they come in on schedule, then it is reasonable to think that by September every adult could be vaccinated, but with all of those very serious caveats.”

The Health Minister said that the plans remains to focus on Level 5 lockdown restrictions before “ramping up” the vaccination programme.

Mr.Donnelly has recently been speaking about the public’s confidence in the COVID-19 vaccine, sharing research via twitter which shows  83% of the population will definitely/probably get it once offered: