Politicians have been gripped by the vaccine jitters this week as nerves falter over the rollout.

Backbench and opposition deputies have been airing the gripes of local GPs and constituents as frustration grows over the pace of vaccinations. 

For two weeks in a row, the HSE has undershot its own target of 100,000 inoculations per week although it said this is entirely due to the shortfall in AstraZeneca deliveries.

It has promised that this ground will be made up by the end of the month but next week also looks set to also fall short. 

Given that the Government's entire pandemic exit strategy is based on getting a critical mass of the population vaccinated, the missteps have caused alarm.

However, Ministers insist that Ireland is performing above average across the EU when comparisons are made. 

The Government mantra on vaccinations is that supply should be the only constraint.

Yet one month before the programme is due to radically scale up, there are fears that the system does not have the agility and the resources to meet the challenge. 

In the Dáil, Health Minister Stephen Donnelly faced a barrage of criticism from TDs venting on behalf of constituents.

Sinn Féin's Pádraig Mac Lochlainn highlighted the distress caused by the lack of deliveries to GPs in Carndonagh on the Inishowen peninsula. 

"I got a telephone call today from an 89-year-old woman. Her vaccination was booked and then cancelled. She does not know when it will happen. GPs are speaking out across the State. As we speak, there is a real problem with the logistics, whatever about the supply issues." 

This gets to the heart of the problem. Supply is outside of Ireland’s control but logistics and communication are entirely within the ambit of the Government and the HSE.

It is on these parameters that the overall programme will be judged. 

Several GPs have complained about delays in being informed about deliveries.

This has led to patients arriving for their appointments being left hugely disappointed as the longed-for jab has to be rescheduled.

Other doctors have received doses but no syringes. 

HSE CEO Paul Reid has admitted that the third week of the over 85s vaccinations has been difficult and he said it would have to strengthen its own communications. 

For its part, the Government is sticking to the line that supply remains the only issue - venting its annoyance with the unreliability of AstraZeneca deliveries. 

However, the opposition has not been convinced. 

Sinn Féin’s Mary Lou McDonald said this week that the problems were way beyond supply and were instead centred on distribution.

She also said that she would not have confidence in many in Government to deliver a pint of milk to her front door. 

And while supply problems go some way to explain the undershoot in vaccinations, they do not excuse the problems encountered by GPs as the over 85s are not being given the AstraZeneca vaccine on the advice of the National Immunisation Advisory Committee. 

Another problem is the lack of transparency around vaccinations.

TDs from every party have pushed for more detailed information.

So far, the daily updated figures available on the Covid-19 Data Hub only show the number of first and second dose vaccinations along with the breakdown by vaccine type and the cohort receiving the jab. 

Labour leader Alan Kelly asked in the Dáil for weekly updates on vaccine deliveries by type.

Fine Gael’s Kieran O’Donnell and Alan Dillon asked for a breakdown of cohorts per county.  

(Pic: RollingNews.ie)

Again and again, the Health Minister resisted providing more detail saying that deliveries are too volatile.

He said they were trying to get the balance right in terms of information that would change regularly and did not want to cause undue anxiety. 

He was also defensive about his previous target to have every adult vaccinated by September. 

"I gave the September figure and when the AstraZeneca figure changed people were saying we may not meet the September figure. I was accused in the Chamber of over promising. I was accused outside of the Chamber of making false promises, which essentially is being accused of lying. In fact, all I was doing was providing exactly what everyone is very reasonably asking for, but in the context of the fact that these figures will change." 

Social Democrats co-leader Róisín Shortall said everyone understood the volatility with supply but the more openness the better as it would allow people to assess the performance of the vaccination programme. 

And among some in the Opposition, there’s a suspicion that Government is holding back on revealing more detail in order to make it more difficult to assess the implementation of the rollout. 

From April, the aim is to vaccinate 250,000 people per week - this is treble the current weekly rate and clearly presents major logistical difficulties. 

But the reopening of society and the economy depends on the ability of the system to ramp up to handle one million jabs per month and it is clear all the political focus will remain honed in on vaccinations as the number one issue.