Some Fianna Fáil TDs, including former minister Dara Calleary, have criticised the pace of the vaccine roll-out, particularly for those aged over 85.

The Taoiseach told a meeting of his parliamentary party that the Government will engage with the Health Service Executive to ensure there is proper communication.

This included a proposal to have a direct line to respond to queries regarding the vaccine roll-out.

Micheál Martin said supply is the only constraint and conceded there had been some bumps in the schedule with AstraZeneca.

He also said a package of supports is being developed for young people.

It was confirmed today that the HSE administered 81,843 vaccine doses last week, 18,157 doses short of the 100,000 it had committed to delivering.

However, it said the shortfall was due to the deferral of a delivery of 25,000 AstraZeneca vaccines last week and this week.

It said that it had been assured that the shortfall will be recovered this month.

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The Tánaiste said that the failure to meet the vaccine target last week was outside the Government's control.

Speaking at the Fine Gael parliamentary party meeting, Leo Varadkar said it was down to the AstraZeneca order not being met.

Mr Varadkar also said that the single dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine will be administered in Ireland in April, if approved by the European Medicines Agency on 11 March.

He said he hopes the adult population can be vaccinated ahead of the September target.

The meeting heard concerns about delays that some GPs are experiencing in getting the vaccine. These were voiced by Louth TD Fergus O'Dowd and Senator Regina Doherty.

Carlow-Kilkenny TD John Paul Phelan questioned why the vaccination target was missed last week.


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The Chair of the GP Committee of the Irish Medical Organisation has said there is a need for improved communication with doctors on the roll out of the Covid-19 vaccine programme.

Dr Denis McAuley said GPs should be informed at least a week in advance of when to expect vaccine deliveries and the numbers ordered.

Speaking on RTÉ's Six One News, he said 200 practices are still waiting delivery of their vaccines.

However, he said he was confident that the vaccination of all over 85-year-olds will be completed by the end of next week.

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Last Sunday saw the lowest number of vaccines delivered on a single day during the week, with 2,427 first doses and 35 second doses given.

Up to Sunday, 51,930 of the 72,000 people aged 85 years and older had received their first dose of vaccine from GPs.

Four patients had received their second dose.

Earlier, Social Democrats co-leader Roisín Shortall expressed concern about the Covid-19 vaccine roll-out programme, saying there appears to be a "very substantial gap" between what was forecast to arrive into Ireland and "the number actually being administered".

Ms Shortall told the Dáil that while figures are published on a daily basis, regarding the administration of vaccines, the same does not apply to incoming deliveries.

She said when it came to the arrivals from AstraZeneca, it appeared that "more than two thirds" of the expected vaccines "seems not to have been administered".

Ms Shortall called on the Taoiseach to "provide an explanation" for that gap - updating the figures for February if needed - and give a commitment for the publication on a basis on "doses received".

The Social Democrats said this was important in order to "gauge performance" of the vaccine roll-out programme.

In response, Mr Martin said that "without question" this was a "very important" issue.

Mr Martin contended that the "key issue" is ongoing supply, adding that there had been "bumps along the way", as articulated by the chair of the vaccine task force last Saturday.

He added that these issues were also being discussed at EU level.

On her precise request, the Taoiseach said he would revert to her after contacting the vaccine task force, saying: "There will be no difficultly with them going through the information."

Ms Shortall said that the "figures we have now indicate we are not administrating what is coming in" and she argued these needed to be publicly available so that people have "confidence" in the roll-out programme.

Reporting Paul Cunningham and Fergal Bowers