THERE will be no St Patrick's Day Parade next March due to Covid-19 fears according to a leading Irish immunologist.
Dr Lara Dungan of St Vincent's University Hospital in Dublin predicts that for a second year in a row, the Irish capital will have to forego its most famous celebration.
Earlier this year, Dublin's St Patrick's Day parade was the first major casualty of the Covid-19 pandemic. * Who'd have thought back then that 2021's parade would be in jeopardy too?
Dr Dungan argued that despite the soon-to-be availability of coronavirus vaccines in Ireland, there won't be time to vaccinate enough people in order to ensure a mass public gatherings like the St Patrick's Day Parade is safe.
"I think that realistically the first people will start getting vaccinations maybe just before the new year in [the Republic of] Ireland, but I wouldn't be breaking my heart for that," she said.
"I think it will take months and months before we can get everybody done, I don't think we'll have a normal March, I don't think we'll have a St Patrick's Day Parade.
"This won't be the type of thing that happens instantaneously, but hopefully by the end of 2021 our population should be vaccinated."
Earlier this month, Tánaiste Leo Varadkar said he predicts life to return to normal in May or June next year.
Ireland has secured a deal to receive 14 million doses of coronavirus vaccines, but must wait until they are clinically approved by the European Medicines Agency (EMA).
Once approval is granted, something that's expected in the coming weeks, it may take some time before Ireland can avail of all the doses it's purchased.
As such, health experts and politicians have warned the public that once vaccines do arrive, they won't immediately eliminate the virius, and it will take time for herd immunity to be built.
Experts estimate that around 70% of the country would be need to be vaccinated in order for herd immunity to be established.