News & Media

Public confirmation of earlier appointments for AstraZeneca needed

15 June 2021

Statement by Alan Kelly TD
Party Leader and Spokesperson on Health and Disability Services
  • Will everyone waiting have a date by mid-July?
  • Are supplies confirmed?

After raising again in the Dáil the need to reduce the 12 week gap between doses of AstraZeneca, Labour Party Leader Alan Kelly criticised the Taoiseach for repeating previous answers, and called for public confirmation that those waiting for their second dose are now being called earlier for their appointment, as it will give the public great comfort if it is confirmed that supplies are in place to make this operational.

Deputy Kelly said:

“The cohorts waiting for their second dose of AstraZeneca need reassurance and public confirmation that a shorter gap between doses is now operational. There is huge public interest about this and a communications plan to reassure those impacted that this is now happening on the ground would be welcome.

“While the Taoiseach said today that the announcement has been made that the second dose is being brought forward and what was to have taken nine weeks, will now take five I would urge the Government and the HSE to now confirm for the public that people in this cohort are actually being called early now for their second dose. Confirmation that there are sufficient supplies of AstraZeneca doses in places to cover the outstanding cohorts and reduce the gap between inoculations would provide great public relief.

“For those people waiting, knowing that they should now expect a text will make a huge difference.

“I asked the Taoiseach to confirm that by the middle of July every person in that affected cohort, particularly those between 60 and 69, will have a date for the second dose of AstraZeneca to be administered. Unfortunately he did not provide a detailed answer.

“For many weeks I have been raising the concerns of those in the 60-69 age group, some people in cohorts 4 and 7, and also some healthcare workers, all of whom were vaccinated with AstraZeneca and who initially had a 14-week wait for their second dose and then a 12-week wait. We have a collective need to address this issue now because there is a race on between the Delta variant coming into our country and the vaccination programme.

“These are the most vulnerable people but, compared with their children and many individuals in their 40s, they are going to have to wait for some period before they are vaccinated. There are 460,000 people in these categories and there is deep concern. That concern is intergenerational and involves grandchildren who are worried about their grandparents and sons, daughters, nieces and nephews who are worried about their parents, uncles and aunts.“