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50 lanes Forty large vaccination centres planned in Ireland says HSE boss

HSE boss Paul Reid said some of the centres would have 50 lanes.

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The Oxford/AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine (PA)

The Oxford/AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine (PA)

The Oxford/AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine (PA)

Around 40 large vaccination centres are to be set up across Ireland to facilitate the rollout of jabs through the year, the HSE has said.

Chief executive Paul Reid said some of the facilities would have up to 50 lanes to maximise the number of people receiving doses.

Next Monday three large GP-led mass centres will open in Dublin, Cork and Galway as part of the rollout of vaccinations among the over-70s. The majority of over-70s will still receive their jabs at their own practice.

“We are in parallel working on an overall plan for bigger vaccination centres all across the country, probably about 40 of those all across the country,” Mr Reid told RTE Radio One.

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The HSE’s Paul Reid (Niall Carson/PA)

The HSE’s Paul Reid (Niall Carson/PA)

The HSE’s Paul Reid (Niall Carson/PA)

“Between some of them being 30 to 50 lane or places for vaccination, to some of them between 10 and 20.

“We’ve significant progress made across those deployments all across the country and equally in terms of the workforce that we need to do that.

“So we’ve made really good progress about where we will deploy vaccination centres all across the country.”

Mr Reid said the Defence Forces could be involved in efforts to ensure older people living in remote areas were able to get access to a vaccine.

The first batch of Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccines arrived in Ireland on Saturday.

The 21,600 jabs, which were transported from Belgium, will be given to healthcare workers from Monday.

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A woman walks past a billboard in Dublin urging people to hold on and heralding the arrival of vaccinations (Brian Lawless/PA)

A woman walks past a billboard in Dublin urging people to hold on and heralding the arrival of vaccinations (Brian Lawless/PA)

A woman walks past a billboard in Dublin urging people to hold on and heralding the arrival of vaccinations (Brian Lawless/PA)

Ireland is using the two other approved vaccines, from Pfizer and Moderna, to vaccinate the over-70s amid uncertainty of the effectiveness of the AstraZeneca jab on older people.

The vaccination programme carried out by GPs begins on Monday week, with the over-85 age group being prioritised.

A further 12 Covid-19-related deaths were confirmed in Ireland on Sunday, along with another 1,024 new confirmed cases of the virus.

As of 2pm on Sunday, 1,204 patients with Covid-19 were being treated in hospital, 178 of whom were in ICU.

Mr Reid said hospital inpatient numbers were dropping but he warned that they still remained significantly higher than wave one of the pandemic.

“We’re still 50% higher of hospitalised cases than we were at the peak back in April of the first wave,” he said.

“So some relief for us (in terms of falling admissions) but we’re a long way from being out of the woods in the pressure on our hospital system just yet.”

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Sinn Fein leader Mary Lou McDonald said the UK should share any excess vaccines with Ireland (Niall Carson/PA)

Sinn Fein leader Mary Lou McDonald said the UK should share any excess vaccines with Ireland (Niall Carson/PA)

Sinn Fein leader Mary Lou McDonald said the UK should share any excess vaccines with Ireland (Niall Carson/PA)

Earlier, Sinn Fein president Mary Lou McDonald urged the UK to share any spare coronavirus vaccinations with Ireland.

Mrs McDonald said a spirit of “generosity and solidarity” on vaccine sharing should extend globally.

She was asked on Sky News if she would like to see excess UK doses being diverted to the Irish Republic, given the slower pace of vaccine rollout in the EU.

“Certainly if there is an excess of supply in Britain and if there is a capacity for that to be shared with Ireland at some point, well, yes, of course, absolutely, the project here is to get people vaccinated,” she replied.

“This is a race against this virus and against death so, yes, I think a spirit of fairness and generosity needs to prevail in this, my goodness, above all other issues.

“So, yes, is the answer, and if the scenario were vice versa I would expect that a similar generosity would be afforded to the British people because the virus doesn’t care about politics or borders or any of these things.”

“We all share the same human biology and it’s just so important that the incredible work that has been done by scientists internationally, including at Oxford University, and across the globe, that the fruits of that endeavour and knowledge and expertise is shared in the way that good science would intend, and that means keeping all of our fellow human citizens safe and alive and well.”

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