'Yet more disappointment from AstraZeneca leaves vaccine rollout in doubt' – David Cullinane TD
Sinn Féin spokesperson on Health David Cullinane TD has said that the latest announcement of reduced AstraZeneca vaccine deliveries is a huge disappointment.
He also said that this news combined with HSE reluctance to give a guarantee that 80% of adults will receive their first dose by the end of June has put the vaccine roll-out targets in doubt.
Teachta Cullinane said:
“The latest news on reduction in AstraZeneca vaccines is hugely disappointing.
“This vaccine was supposed to be a game changer, but the corporation has once again failed to honour its commitments and live up to the expectations it set.
“Just this week the Health committee received correspondence from AstraZeneca giving assurances that they would step up and deliver. However, this commitment has already been broken.
“There have been many problems with the vaccine rollout from issues in delivering doses to GPs, failings in the IT system, and delays in vaccinating housebound people in their 80s and 90s to many hospitals vaccinating people who were outside of the HSE guidelines on allocation groups.
“Public health experts have made very clear that a rapid and efficient vaccine rollout is currently the only way out of the pandemic and the key measure for achieving substantial reductions in restrictions.
“There should have been a major ramping up of the vaccine roll-out this month, but due to all of these problems the HSE are clearly unsure whether government targets can now be met.
“We do not know when we will hit 250,000 doses a week and we are significantly falling behind the North, which is months ahead.
“People in their 30s will now be offered their vaccine there, but people in their 60s in this jurisdiction are still waiting.
“Hesitancy regarding the safety of the AstraZeneca vaccine has become a major concern for many.
“The Minister must now step up to the plate, stop the gaffes, stop the overpromising, and level with people.
“The public deserve absolute transparency and honesty. That starts with clear communication and regular publishing of delivery schedules.
“We have not had a formal update on vaccine deliveries since the end of March. We are told we are due 800,000 doses this month, but it is unclear how many have arrived.
“People cannot benchmark the performance and efficiency of the rollout without maximum transparency, and that is the least the Minister can ensure to boost confidence in the rollout.”