McEntee: ‘We don’t anticipate we can have everybody vaccinated this year’

The Justice Minister Helen McEntee has said the Government does not anticipate having everyone vaccinated against the coronavirus in the coming year.

It comes as Ireland has again moved into a full level five lockdown, in a bid to tackle the latest spike in cases.

There is a ban on household visits, while non-essential retail will close from shut of business on Thursday.

Travel is also limited to five kilometres from your home, and a ban on travel between Ireland and Britain has been extended until January 6th.

Six people will be permitted to attend weddings, while 10 mourners may attend funerals.

On this, Minister McEntee told Late Breakfast With Mark Cagney: “We have all these restrictions in place and we have ways of enforcing them.

“But this is really about asking people to stay at home for the month of January”.

“We can’t say for definite that this is going to end in January – but if we can stick to rigidly over the next month, then we will hopefully see that sharp decline”.

“We don’t anticipate that we can have everybody vaccinated this year.

“But what we do anticipate is that the more vulnerable people we get with the vaccine… the more of our medical professionals and everybody else, it reduces the risk overall and it allows things to maybe open up where we don’t have that impact on our health service as we currently see now”.

It comes just days after a 79-year-old Dublin grandmother became the first person here to get the vaccine.

Annie Lynch, from the Liberties area, got the vaccine at St James’s Hospital and said she felt “very privileged” to have become the first person in Ireland to get the jab.

The mass roll-out of the vaccine against COVID-19 should be completed in Ireland by August, the CEO of the HSE has said.

Meanwhile the CEO of the HSE, Paul Reid, has previously said a mass vaccination of the population should conclude by the summer.

But he said the inoculation programme will depend on the delivery schedule of the jab into the country.

Responding to criticism that the roll-out in Ireland had been slower than other EU countries, Mr Reid said he “totally understands the public perspective to get going” with the inoculation programme swiftly.

However, safety protocols and “complex” consent process needed to be worked through in recent days before the vaccines could begin, he added.

Mr Reid said: “Once we confirm delivery, we are still expecting around 40,000 deliveries per week of the Pfizer/BioNTech supply.

“Whatever schedule of delivery we get…we will be planning to deploy that delivery schedule in a sequence basis as agreed by Government.”

Main image: Minister for Justice Helen McEntee outside Government Buildings as she published the findings of the hate crime public consultation. Picture by: Sam Boal/RollingNews.ie