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Major delivery First batch of coronavirus vaccine arrives in Ireland

The first patients will receive the jab on Wednesday.

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Health Minister Stephen Donnelly alongside a fridge containing the first delivery of the coronavirus vaccine

Health Minister Stephen Donnelly alongside a fridge containing the first delivery of the coronavirus vaccine

Health Minister Stephen Donnelly alongside a fridge containing the first delivery of the coronavirus vaccine

The first delivery of almost 10,000 doses of the Pfizer BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine arrived in Ireland today.

The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine is the first to be approved for use in Ireland by the European Medicines Agency.

Health officials took delivery of the consignment at a facility in City West this morning including Health Minister Stephen Donnelly.

Standing by the refrigeration unit he tweeted: “When is a fridge worth photographing? When it’s just had Ireland’s first Covid-19 vaccines put in it.”

“The first doses have just arrived and many of them are sitting in that very, very cold fridge. We’ll begin vaccinating in four days,” he added.

Health Service Executive CEO Paul Reid described it as a "momentous day" and said "there will be better days ahead for sure".

He also shared a clip of the vaccine being delivered this morning.

Chief Medical Officer Dr Tony Holohan meanwhile confirmed that a more contagious form of coronavirus has been detected in Ireland.

He said the HSE is making arrangements to test recent UK arrivals and that anyone arriving from the country should strictly self-isolate for a full 14 days after entering Ireland.

From tomorrow no new inter-county travel will be allowed, although people already away from home over Christmas can return to home

It is expected the first doses will be administered on Wednesday.

HSE chief executive Paul Reid described the first delivery as a “momentous day” for the country.

He tweeted: “An early morning start to a momentous day. Heading off to take receipt of the first delivery of the Pfizer BioNTech vaccine for the HSE. There will be better days ahead for sure. For now, #StaySafe”

The vaccine is to be supplied to the most vulnerable in society first, such as nursing home residents.

However, Taoiseach Micheal Martin has warned it will be up to six months before things start to return to normal.

He said: “The first six months of 2021 we will see improvements, but we certainly not will see normality in the first six months.”

Mr Martin said the initial phase will make a “significant difference” and protect the most vulnerable.

He added: “Certainly manufacturing of the vaccine will be ramped up, certainly from March onwards.”

Mr Martin said May and June have been identified as “critical” months, adding: “From the summer on we will see a degree of normality but I cannot be definite about that.”

He said recent concern over the emergence of a mutant strain of Covid-19 in parts of England highlight the continued uncertainty.

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Taoiseach Micheal Martin has said three vaccines should be available in Ireland next month (Julien Behal Photography/PA)

Taoiseach Micheal Martin has said three vaccines should be available in Ireland next month (Julien Behal Photography/PA)

Taoiseach Micheal Martin has said three vaccines should be available in Ireland next month (Julien Behal Photography/PA)

The Taoiseach expressed confidence in vaccine supplies in the long-term.

“By the end of January you will have three vaccines, and what I am saying is conservative.

“I can also see a scenario where manufacturing ramps up more quickly and where higher volumes of vaccines goes to member states more quickly, that is a more hopeful scenario.”

The State entered its third lockdown on Christmas Eve as a range of restrictions were introduced.

Bars, restaurants, hairdressers and beauty salons have shut in a bid to stifle the spread of coronavirus.

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