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On the sleigh Health staff and nursing home residents to receive first Covid-19 vaccines on December 30

According to the minister, just under 10,000 doses of the Covid-19 vaccine are expected to arrive in Ireland on St Stephen's Day.

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A medical staff member prepares a Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine (Ariel Schalit/AP)

A medical staff member prepares a Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine (Ariel Schalit/AP)

A medical staff member prepares a Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine (Ariel Schalit/AP)

Frontline healthcare workers and nursing home residents will be the first to be vaccinated when the Covid-19 vaccines are administered on December 30, it has been confirmed. 

Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly said we can "then have a different conversation about opening up" after this afternoon’s somber reinstatement of severe restrictions over Christmas.

According to the minister, just under 10,000 doses of the Covid-19 vaccine are expected to arrive in Ireland on St Stephen's Day.

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Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly (Julien Behal)

Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly (Julien Behal)

Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly (Julien Behal)

A second shipment of "several tens of thousands doses" will arrive in the first week of January and every week from then.

He said it is hoped that the 30,000 people living in nursing homes will be vaccinated by some stage in February.

Minister Donnelly said the Government is looking for "an accelerated quantity" of the Pfizer vaccine and for confirmation of the quantities of the Moderna vaccine that will be made available to Ireland.

However, Róisín Shortall TD, co-leader of the Social Democrats, said: “The vaccine has given us hope that we will be able to return to some sort of normality, but the reality is that we will not achieve that until mid-2021. In the meantime, the Government needs to develop a new strategy.”

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