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vaccine chaos Covid-19 vaccine supplies will be limited in January and February, before a further rollout in March

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The COVID-19 vaccine will be in limited supply in January and February

The COVID-19 vaccine will be in limited supply in January and February

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The COVID-19 vaccine will be in limited supply in January and February

Covid-19 vaccine supplies in Ireland will be limited in January and February, before a further rollout in March, the Taoiseach has said.

The rollout of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine is expected to begin a week after its expected approval by the European Medicines Agency, due on December 29, according to Micheal Martin.

Priority groups including nursing home residents and healthcare staff will be prioritised in the week after the estimated December 29 approval.

"Within days we will be in a position to move and we want to be in a position to move,” Martin told RTE Radio One's Morning Ireland. “We had again a presentation at the EU council meeting from President von der Leyen, in terms of the Pfizer-BioNTech, the latest date will be the 29 and then Moderna, which is the next vaccine, on the 12.

"If it's at the 29, we will be hoping in the following week that we will be in a position to procure the vaccine and then roll it out to the priority grouping, in this case, in terms of nursing home residents and healthcare staff.

"In terms of, and this will be something we will be announcing tomorrow, the Pfizer-BioNtech vaccine is volatile enough, it has to be handled with care and knowhow.”

He added: “The whole workforce planning around who administers it, public health doctors and public health teams will be involved, doctors and pharmacies will be involved laterally."

The Taoiseach was speaking after 429 new cases of coronavirus were announced last night.

He said he was "concerned" about the rise in figures, as he urged the public to keep their contacts low in the run up to Christmas and warned "we could very well be looking at further restrictions" in January.

Martin warned: "So I am concerned, I think we had six weeks of severe restrictions, it was only natural and the right thing to do to ease up on those restrictions.

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Infectious disease specialist at the RCSI professor Sam McConkey says almost every county has seen an increase in cases in recent days: “Initially when I heard it, I said you can't base public policy on one number.

“Then I looked at the breakdown and shockingly the increase in cases is almost in 23 or 24 of the counties in Ireland.


“It is a very consistent increase everywhere and this is not just one big outbreak of 200 cases in a factory, this is an incremental rise all over the country.”

"Very significant reduction to the extent we became the lowest in Europe, but, the reality is, and as I said at the end of those six weeks, personal behaviour is essential now as we move into the Christmas period.

"We've all got to watch our contacts, every social contact counts here.

"You could very well be looking at some further restrictions in January, but as I made the point, Level 5 that we brought in throughout November, was much different to how we had the first lockdown."

He added: "The contrast between that and the first one was quite significant, and likewise, we will look at the data, we will look at where we are in January and we will make decisions, fully informed, in terms of hospital occupancy.

"We're keeping everything under review in this regard and we will take stock with where we are from week to week and where the numbers are and we will take informed decisions."

He reminded the public to keep their contacts low for the Christmas period and said that the most effective response is "our own personal behaviour".

“The most effective response to this, however, is our own personal behaviour and particularly over the Christmas period.

"If people want to see people over Christmas, their parents, their grandparents, it's very important that over the next week that we just reduce the number of social contacts that we have and just really mind ourselves, because if we mind ourselves, we'll mind those closest and dearest to us."

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