Q&A: When will I get my Covid-19 vaccine?

Health officials are reluctant – even privately – to crystal ball-gaze any farther than April

The Covid-19 vaccine rollout has been stymied by pharmaceutical companies falling short on promised deliveries, as well as the temporary pause on the AstraZeneca vaccine last week.

Cutting through the fog of the constantly moving news coverage can be difficult. So when will it be your turn? Or when will your elderly or vulnerable relative be vaccinated?

When will all over-70s receive the vaccine?

Hospital Report

The Health Service Executive (HSE) said it is still on track to administer the first dose to all those aged 70 and older by mid-April, and the second doses by mid-May.


General practitioners have been moving through their lists of older patients at different rates, with some already vaccinating those in their 70s.

In a bulletin sent to GPs on Wednesday, the HSE said it planned to deliver more than 89,000 doses to 540 practices next week, and supplies would increase in “early April”.

How have we done so far?

Some 855,360 vaccine doses have been delivered to the Republic, as of last Friday, March 19th.

From those, 690,449 doses have been administered, with more than 500,000 people receiving the first shot, and 186,600 people fully vaccinated.

A portion is always kept in reserve to make sure enough is on hand for required second doses.

Those who have been vaccinated include residents and staff in nursing homes, frontline healthcare workers, and some of the over-70s.

When will supplies ramp up?

The big bump in vaccine supply is expected to come on stream from April 12th onwards.

Officials expect to receive 130,000 doses of Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine each week in April, up from around 85,000 doses currently. Small quantities of the one-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine will also likely begin to land in late April.

In total, one million vaccine doses are due each month in April, May and June.

There is to be a modest supply increase in the last week of March as well, with a bumper delivery of 100,000 vaccines promised by AstraZeneca.

Extra doses are also expected from Moderna, as pharma companies push to supply as much as possible in the final days of the first quarter of the year, due to contract agreements.

What about the medically vulnerable?

People who are deemed at “very high risk” from Covid-19 are also currently receiving the vaccine.

This includes: cancer patients; the immunocompromised and transplant recipients; some with chronic kidney or respiratory diseases; Down syndrome, and uncontrolled diabetes and obesity.

Patients with regular hospital appointments have been easier to "find" than others, in some cases. The HSE is in talks with the Irish Medical Organisation (IMO) to try to get GPs to help identify and vaccinate some of this group as well.

Who is next on the list?

Next in the queue are people aged between 65 and 69 with underlying conditions, who are deemed “high risk” if they get Covid-19.

The cohort after that is everyone aged 65-69, other healthcare workers and vaccination staff.

The HSE is considering vaccinating these two cohorts together, ideally starting in the later end of April. But should vaccine deliveries continue to fall short, the groups will likely be vaccinated one after the other.

At that stage the nearly 40 mass vaccination centres should be running at full tilt. The first of more than 4,000 people who applied to be temporary vaccinators started work this week.

Health officials are reluctant – even privately – to crystal ball-gaze any farther than April about exactly when other groups may get the green light to receive their jabs.

Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly told the Dáil four out of five adults will be offered vaccines by the end of June, if agreed delivery commitments are met.

Hitting that target will rest on promised supplies arriving, despite past disappointments, and the State’s vaccination network working effectively, to administer them quickly enough if they do.

Jack Power

Jack Power

Jack Power is acting Europe Correspondent of The Irish Times