ONCE everyone over 60 has been vaccinated against Covid-19, as well as those with chronic health conditions, Ireland's job will be "98% done", Leo Varadkar insists.
The Tánaiste hinted that once these groups have been successfully inoculated, restrictions in Ireland can be lifted and life will begin to return to normal.
This is largely due to the fact that people in these groups account for roughly 98% of the hospitalisations and deaths from Covid-19 in the country.
Taoiseach Micheál Martin stressed on Tuesday that Ireland would be ramping up its vaccination programme over the coming months, and hoped that 80% of the adult population will have received their first dose before the end of June.
During an appearance on RTÉ's Morning Ireland on Wednesday, Mr Varadkar said the Government was "confident" of meeting the vaccination target set out by Mr Martin.
Varadkar added that the Government hoped to increase the number of vaccines per week from 100,000 to 250,00 in April, and 300,000 in May.
"That's a huge scale-up," he said.
"We're ready for that, 7,500 people trained to give those vaccines; vaccine centre now popping up all over the country; the community pharmacists being vaccinated shortly so that they can be ready to give the vaccines in April as well.
"We're confident this can be done, and the aim is to have over 80% of adults vaccinated by the end of June.
"If we vaccinate everyone over 60, and if we vaccinate everyone under 60 with a chronic condition, that's actually 98% of the job done in terms of deaths and hospitalisations.
"So we may really see the vaccines making a real difference in hospitalisations and people getting sick and deaths as opposed to cases in May or June. That might put us in a position where we can make decisions that we can't make now."