A detailed plan of when people can expect to be vaccinated will be released next week, alongside the Government’s revised ‘Living with Covid-19’ strategy.
Justice Minister Helen McEntee suggested that the vaccination program “will give people some hope” as strict Covid-19 measures remain in place. He said he thought people would be relieved when they got a “clear picture” of where they fit in the vaccine administration.
The Cabinet Subcommittee on Covid-19 met last night and discussed plans to gradually open schools from the beginning of March, but left existing Level 5 restrictions in effect.
Strict restrictions are expected to remain in effect until early May.
Ms. McEntee said the dates have not been decided yet and the plans still need to be approved by the Cabinet.
Speaking at Galway Bay FM on Friday, he said the subcommittee had heard presentations from the National Public Health Emergency Team (Nphet) and HSE summarizing their views that Covid-19 cases are still very high. It was first defined in the UK.
He said the government would have to be very careful in reopening society as a result.
“From March on, the focus is really on getting kids back to school and doing this carefully incrementally,” he said, adding that this increased mobility will be reviewed in terms of how it affects case numbers.
He said that later, decisions would be taken to further ease the restrictions. He acknowledged that businesses suffer and there are thousands of people who find tight restrictions “extremely difficult”.
McEntee said there is hope in the vaccination program, saying that the goal this week is to deliver 81,000 doses, and next week, 110,000 doses.
He said that 1.2 million doses will be given by the end of March and these numbers will continue in April and May. Ms. McEntee said: “Next week … with our plan of what will happen next, we will publish a more detailed plan that people can look at to see exactly when they get their vaccinations.”