FIVE HUNDRED THOUSAND people in Ireland are expected to be offered a Covid-19 jab sooner than initially planned, according to reports.
As of this week, the Johnson & Johnson vaccine has been approved for use in Ireland, while limitations on AstraZeneca's vaccine have also been eased in a huge boost to the country's vaccination programme.
Both vaccines had been designated health risks for older age groups following a small number of unsubstantiated links to blood clots, but fears that the jabs are unsafe have since been allayed.
Last week, the European Medicines Agency (EMA) confirmed that the benefits of the J&J vaccine far outweigh any risk of blood clotting, which is considered an extremely rare side effect.
As such, Ireland's National Immunisation Advisory Committee (NIAC) have now recommended the J&J vaccine for those aged 50 and over, and have relaxed restrictions on AstraZeneca's vaccine.
People aged 50 to 59 in Ireland were originally expected to be vaccinated in June, but this will now likely be brought forward.
It's understood that 550,000 people in their 50s could be offered a jab in the next month.
Approval of the J&J vaccine - which is a one shot jab - is hugely significant for Ireland's rollout, due to its logistical convenience.
It'll likely be recommended not only for those living in rural communities across the country, but also used to reach the homeless, Traveller and Roma communities.
Over 600,000 doses of the J&J vaccines are due to arrive in Ireland by the end of June, with just over 40,000 expected before the end of the month, and the HSE could begin administration of the single-shot jab as soon as this week.