A RETURN to lockdown is likely to happen again in Ireland before Covid-19 vaccinations can be effectively administered around the country.
The Covid-19 vaccine task-force is set to meet this afternoon, as Ireland enters the final day of Level Five restrictions.
They will be deciding how the approved vaccines will be rolled out nationwide once they become available.
But despite the impending vaccines, an Irish immunology expert says he believes that further restrictions, akin to Level Five, may be needed again.
Professor Paul Moynagh insists that more targeted restrictions will be necessary to prevent further waves of the virus, at least until the vaccine has been widely administered.
He expressed concern that if Covid-19 case numbers rose steeply enough once Level Five restrictions were eased, a third lockdown would be needed.
Prof Moynagh described this as a "flawed" method of controlling the virus.
Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly says that he expects the vaccines to be rolled out in early January next year, but immunology professor at Trinity College Luke O'Neill reckons they could be administered sooner.
"It's just a logical question once it's given the green light which is what we are waiting for," Prof O'Neill said.
"In America, they are saying their vaccination programme will begin on December 11, and it shouldn't be any different in Europe really."
The Government said on Monday that it expects Covid-19 cases around the country to rise as lockdown lifted and people mix houses over Christmas, but refused to confirm the likelihood of a third lockdown in the New Year.