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Covid latest Covid-19 vaccine is a 'positive first step' but will not be a 'global solution,' Nphet's Dr Cillian De Gascun says

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Dr Cillian De Gascun (Brian Lawless/PA)

Dr Cillian De Gascun (Brian Lawless/PA)

Dr Cillian De Gascun (Brian Lawless/PA)

Pfizer's breakthrough Covid-19 vaccine is a "positive first step" but will not be a "global solution" to suppressing the spread of Covid-19, Dr Cillian De Gascun has said.

Dr De Gascun, Director of the National Virus Reference Laboratory and Chair of National Public Health and Emergency Team's (Nphet) Covid-19 expert advisory group, said the vaccine poses challenges that "logistically could be difficult to roll it out."

Speaking at the Department of Health this evening, he said: "Certainly it's positive, first of all. Over 90pc effective, if that holds true in the real world, then it will be a very good start from a vaccination perspective.

"Obviously, it's a two dose schedule so there's some potential logistic challenges around that. The duration of protection, obviously something we don't yet know.

"We know from the media reports that this vaccine requires an ultra cold chain, minus 80 degrees. So again the logistically could be difficult to roll it out. It's not going to be the global solution, but certainly it's a very positive first step."

Chief Medical Officer Dr Tony Holohan said it is "certainly not time" to celebrate the development.

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Dr. Tony Holohan , Chief Medical Officer, Department of Health, of NPHET, National Public Health Emergency Team

Dr. Tony Holohan , Chief Medical Officer, Department of Health, of NPHET, National Public Health Emergency Team

Dr. Tony Holohan , Chief Medical Officer, Department of Health, of NPHET, National Public Health Emergency Team

He said Nphet have seen the vaccine announcement and are "hopeful" they will be able to access "reliable data when it becomes available to the regulatory authorities."

Dr Holohan added: "I think we have to keep reminding people that's the measures we have available to us right now, the public health measures that we have continually recommended and underscored the importance of, that people stick to the public health advice."

It comes after Pfizer and its partner BioNTech said interim results showed their jab was found to be more than 90pc effective.

The vaccine has been tested on 43,500 people in six countries and no safety concerns have been raised.

The pharmaceutical giant and BioNTech will now apply to the US Food and Drug Administration by the end of the month for emergency approval to use the vaccine.

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Meanwhile, the Department of Health this evening reported one further death and 270 new cases.

There is now a total of 65,659 confirmed cases of Covid-19 in ireland, while the death toll now stands at 1,948.

Of today's cases, 103 are in Dublin, 34 in Limerick, 20 in Donegal, 12 in Cork, 9 in Kerry, 9 in Kilkenny and the remaining 83 cases are spread across 20 other counties.

The median age is 34 years old and 69pc are under 45 years of age.

Some 291 Coid-19 patients are hospitalised, of which 39 are in ICU. There has been 12 additional hospitalisations in the past 24 hours.

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