While the latest update from Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly on deliveries of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine was not hugely surprising, it was important.

He underlined something that has become increasingly clear to those watching the vaccine roll-out across Europe in recent weeks: deliveries of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine aren't on schedule.

An issue with a key production facility in the US has stymied the supply of the vaccine to the European Union.

The downstream impact on Ireland has now been outlined by the Minister.

Originally, 600,000 doses were expected to be delivered before the end of June. Some 420,000 of them were due in June alone. Now, it’ll be far fewer - potentially as little 60,000.

The downward revision of the expected scale of deliveries, when combined with the limitations placed on the use of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine by NIAC, mean the HSE will now do well to administer 200,000 Johnson & Johnson doses by 30 June.

Since early April, Prime Time has been warning that the Government’s fully vaccinated target is hugely reliant on the arrival of the predicted 600,000 doses.


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Thursday’s update makes essentially impossible the prospect of having 55% of adults fully vaccinated by the end of June.

Based on the numbers available, and assuming no further major changes in the meantime, Prime Time now estimates that between 35% and 45% of adults will be fully vaccinated by the end of June.

The other June target was for 82% of adults to have received one dose.

The issues with the use of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine also had a bearing on these aims.

Fewer doses of the vaccine have been used in May than originally planned. The people who were forecast to receive them have instead received a first dose of a two-dose vaccine.

They will now receive a second dose in June. If those people had received a one-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine, their second doses in theory could have been someone else’s first dose.

That will make hitting the 82% first dose target unlikely, but not quite impossible.

Prime Time now estimates that between 72% and 78% will have received one of a required two doses by then.

Specifics on the vaccine roll-out have been unavailable since the cyber attack on the HSE.

That makes it hard to predict when the 55% fully vaccinated target will now be reached. It depends in part on the types of first doses used in recent weeks, and the advised time period before those people can receive a second dose.

If things go as they are currently planned - which at this stage, may be optimistic too - it now appears the 82% target will be reached in mid-July.