Ireland's Health Minister backtracks on promise to have entire country vaccinated by September
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Ireland's Health Minister backtracks on promise to have entire country vaccinated by September

IRELAND'S Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly has withdrawn his vow of vaccinating the entire country against Covid-19 by September.

He claims it's a promise he never explicitly made, but stressed that a full vaccination of Ireland before the end of summer was still an "aspiration".

During an interview on RTÉ's Today with Claire Byrne show, Mr Donnelly said that his pledge on the rollout of vaccines was always "heavily caveated," based on the schedule of advanced purchase.

"I said September, September is absolutely still the aspiration. It's not a promise," the Health Minister said.

"We can't promise for all those reasons because it's a projection based partly on vaccinations that haven't even been applied for authorisation and on delivery schedules that still have to be fully agreed."

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Mr Donnelly then asked to "rephrase" his pledge, stating: "If the vaccines come through that we have advanced purchases for, they're authorised and if they come in on schedule, then it is reasonable to think that by September, every adult could be vaccinated, but with all those very serious caveats."

He went on to say that the current plan is to continue with Level 5 lockdown restrictions until March 5, at which point an acceleration of Ireland's vaccination programme is due to begin.

Vaccine projections that Ireland is set to receive around 3.7 million doses of the vaccine between April and the end of June, and a further 3.8 million between July and the end of September, which will - in theory - be more than enough to vaccinate Ireland's population of just under five million.