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15,000 Covid-19 vaccines administered in Ireland

The country’s health chief said it had given a great lift to the country.

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Annie Lynch (centre right), 79, who is the first person to receive a coronavirus vaccine in Ireland after the jab was administered to her at the St James’s Hospital in Dublin (Marc O’Sullivan/AP)

Annie Lynch (centre right), 79, who is the first person to receive a coronavirus vaccine in Ireland after the jab was administered to her at the St James’s Hospital in Dublin (Marc O’Sullivan/AP)

Annie Lynch (centre right), 79, who is the first person to receive a coronavirus vaccine in Ireland after the jab was administered to her at the St James’s Hospital in Dublin (Marc O’Sullivan/AP)

More than 15,000 people have received their first dose of a Covid-19 vaccine in Ireland to date.

The country’s health chief said a total of 35,000 people will have received the Pfizer BioNTech jab by the end of the week.

Paul Reid described the State’s coronavirus vaccination programme as the “great light” and “great hope” as the country faces the weeks ahead.

A total of 15,314 people have been given vaccinated since December 29.

“It has given a great lift to the country and it has given a great inspirational lift to our healthcare workers,” he said.

It comes as the health service struggles to cope with rising community transmission of the virus and escalating hospital admissions.

The Government announced a raft of new lockdown measures on Wednesday in a bid to suppress community transmission.

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Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly (Julien Behal Photography/PA)

Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly (Julien Behal Photography/PA)

Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly (Julien Behal Photography/PA)

Health Minister Stephen Donnelly said the HSE received a delivery of the Moderna vaccine hours after it was approved on Wednesday.

Mr Donnelly said the Government expects to receive around 110,00 doses of the vaccine in the first quarter of the year.

The European Medicines Agency approved the the Modern vaccine for Europe on Wednesday.

Mr Donnelly said that along with 360,000 doses of the Pfizer vaccine, the Government will have 470,000 doses by the end of March.

By the end of next month, he said all nursing home residents and healthcare workers will be vaccinated.

The rollout of the State’s coronavirus vaccination programme began last week when 79-year-old grandmother Annie Lynch, from Dublin, became the first person in the Republic to receive the jab on December 29.

The chief clinical officer of the HSE warned the numbers were going in the wrong direction with “extraordinarily high” positivity rates and referrals from GPs for Covid-19 being recorded.

Dr Colm Henry said there were 25,000 referrals on Monday, 18,000 on Tuesday and 14,000 on Wednesday.

“We’re seeing positive rates now in community testing from 40% to 50% which is extraordinarily high levels,” he said.

“The message is if you think you have Covid-19, more than likely you do.”

He added: “The incidence rate is increasing across all age groups, especially young adults.

“This level of infection has been rising rapidly since late December and early January.”

He said the five-day moving average now stands at 5,525 cases per day.

Ireland’s 14-day incidence per 100,000 now stands at 819, which is higher than the UK and the 10th highest in Europe.

Dr Colm Henry says the R rate of the virus is now over two but the modelling team are working out the precise number.

“There is early evidence emerging that the new variant played a role in the rapid increase since Christmas,” he added.

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