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scam alert Health officials warned over scams involving fake private supplies of AstraZeneca vaccine

The warning has come from the producer, which said it is not selling any of its jabs privately.

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Dr Colm Henry, Chief Clinical Officer, HSE (Brian Lawless/PA Wire)

Dr Colm Henry, Chief Clinical Officer, HSE (Brian Lawless/PA Wire)

Dr Colm Henry, Chief Clinical Officer, HSE (Brian Lawless/PA Wire)

Health officials have been warned about scams involving fake private supplies of the Oxford-AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccines.

The warning has come from the producer, which said it is not selling any of its jabs privately.

It said it is focused on its commitment to provide vaccines to governments and international health organisations.

The Department of Health revealed last night the task force overseeing the vaccine roll-out and health officials here had been alerted to "various offers around the procurement of vaccines - mainly the AstraZeneca jab - outside of the supplies covered by advance purchase deals under the EU agreements".

It said AstraZeneca has "advised the Department of Health there is currently no private supply, sale or distribution of its vaccine".

"It has cautioned that if someone offers private vaccines, they are likely to be counterfeit," it added.

The warning comes as the Government is under pressure to ramp up the roll-out.As of last Sunday, 525,768 doses had been administered, with only 3pc of the population fully vaccinated.

Figures from the Department of Health yesterday showed that up to the end of last week, 613,650 doses have been shipped here.

It said 95pc of vaccines are administered within seven days of arrival.

Meanwhile, GPs who are administering the vaccine to the over-80s are reporting ongoing problems with deliveries of Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines to surgeries this week.

It means some older patients who were expecting to receive the vaccine are having to be contacted and told their vaccination will not go ahead.

HSE Chief Clinical Officer Dr Colm Henry told the GPs that "you may not receive the total order for these coming weeks but, in all instances, the amount you are to receive will be advised to you".

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"Any shortfall in vaccine for the over-80 age group will be allocated in your next order and so on through March, with a significant ramp-up in vaccine delivery in April as increased supplies arrive in Ireland," he said.

Forty-seven more ­Covid-related deaths were reported yesterday, 14 of which occurred this month.

A further 631 new cases of the virus were diagnosed.

However, the pressure on hospitals continues to decrease, with 370 Covid-19 patients hospitalised and 92 in intensive care.

But there were 31 additional hospitalisations in the previous 24 hours.

The National Public Health Emergency Team (Nphet) is expected to give the green light to an easing of visiting restrictions to nursing homes where residents and staff are vaccinated.

It is expected relatives and friends will be asked to book a visit in advance and it will remain very controlled, with the use of surgical masks and other measures because of the continuing risk of infection.

The latest report on outbreaks of the virus for last week shows three new outbreaks in nursing homes compared with 44 during the worst week in January.

There were 17 cases of the virus in nursing homes last week, down from 93 the previous week.

Most outbreaks happened in family households, rising to 259.

Outbreaks among students dropped to 15 from 61 the previous week.

There were 19 outbreaks in the workplace, including food factories as well as the commercial sector.


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