The possibility of extending the length of time between first and second doses of the Covid-19 vaccine is currently being considered by health officials, according to the Minister for Health.
Stephen Donnelly said he expects to receive recommendations on the matter from deputy chief medical officer Dr Ronan Glynn and the vaccine taskforce “in the coming days”, assessing whether the current four-week interval could be extended up to 12, as reported by The Irish Times.
Mr Donnelly pointed to similar actions being taken in other countries, including the UK, where an emphasis was placed on administering as many first doses as possible in order to give a larger percentage of people some protection against the virus.
“The data we are getting back from the vaccination programme in Ireland and from the world is that even the first dose of the two-dose vaccine is showing absolutely incredible positive success in terms of reduction of cases and hospitalisation,” Mr Donnelly said.
The impact of extending the interval between doses is now being considered by officials here, however, the National Immunisation Advisory Committee (Niac) has not yet been asked about the matter, with Mr Donnelly adding no memo had been written to the group “at the moment”.
Mr Donnelly said once recommendations are received from health officials, they can be brought to the Government for consideration.
However, Mr Donnelly may be facing pushback at the Cabinet table after he questioned whether the vaccine rollout should be altered once again to allow for younger people to be vaccinated sooner, prompting anger from some of his Cabinet colleagues.
Mr Donnelly confirmed on Sunday Dr Glynn said there was no evidence to support such a change, with no plans or proposals being put in place.