Stephen Donnelly suggests that Ireland "wouldn't need" 24-hour vaccination centres
He also said younger people will not be bumped up the vaccine queue.
Stephen Donnelly has played down the prospect of Ireland operating Covid-19 vaccination centres 24 hours a day.
The Minister for Health made the comments on Ireland AM on Wednesday morning, saying that the National Public Health Emergency Team (NPHET) had asked the HSE to examine whether or not they would be capable of operating the centres 24 hours a day.
Donnelly said it would be possible to run the centres like this but that it would not be necessary due to the current vaccination capacity combined with the increased role he sees pharmacists playing in the vaccine rollout.
"The capacity within the vaccination centres, coupled with the capacity of the GPs and remember with the pharmacists as well - and I'm hoping to see them play a bigger and bigger role - suggests that we wouldn't need to run the vaccination centres 24 hours a day," Donnelly said.
“Ideally you wouldn’t want people having to go in at two, three or four o’clock in the morning.
"However, if we need to run the vaccine centres 24 hours a day to meet the target, to get the vaccines out as quickly as possible, that is absolutely something we can do."
“Ideally you wouldn’t want people having to go in at 2, 3 or 4 o’clock in the morning”
Minister for Health @DonnellyStephen on the possibility of 24-hour vaccination centres following a proposal to the HSE by NPHET. #IrlAM pic.twitter.com/1qQ4dbN1OG
— Ireland AM (@IrelandAMVMTV) May 5, 2021
Donnelly also said the vaccine rollout will continue to be rolled out based on age and will not see younger categories bumped up the queue.
He also said that it's possible for Ireland to reach the target of 80% first doses in adult population by the end of June, providing the delivery schedule doesn't receive any setbacks.
Currently, 30 of the 38 planned vaccination centres are operational with many of these operating seven days a week.