Thursday, 25 November 2021
Ceisteanna ar Reachtaíocht a Gealladh - Questions on Promised Legislation
Just under 700,000 people have received their third dose and we expect that number to be over 1 million by early December. Under the current guidance from NIAC, 2.5 million people are now eligible for a third dose. We should bear in mind that even when the vaccine programme was at full tilt, the maximum number of people we could vaccinate in any week was approximately 250,000, so it will take a bit of time to get through the people already eligible for a third dose. It will be well into January or February before that happens.
NIAC is now examining groups that include children aged between five and 11, and we anticipate the European Medicines Agency will give a approval for that today, if it has not done so already. We have asked in particular for consideration of the group that received the single Janssen dose because there is evidence that immunity from that vaccine could fall as low as 20% or 30% within a few months. We are also asking that consideration be given to people under 50. As the Deputy rightly indicates, the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control, ECDC, now recommends everybody over 40 should receive a third dose.