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jab joy HSE chief Paul Reid hails ‘momentous’ day as Covid-19 vaccine arrives in Ireland

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By the end of January the Irish health system should be delivering three vaccines (Danny Lawson/PA)

By the end of January the Irish health system should be delivering three vaccines (Danny Lawson/PA)

By the end of January the Irish health system should be delivering three vaccines (Danny Lawson/PA)

This is a “momentous day” for Ireland as the first batch of the coronavirus vaccine is due to arrive this morning, HSE CEO Paul Reid has said.

Mr Reid took to Twitter to confirm HSE officials had an early start this morning to take receipt of the first batch of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine.

Ireland is to receive 9,750 doses of the vaccine today but will receive close to 30,000 more doses in the next week.

This first inoculations are set to begin on Wednesday with older people resident in nursing homes and healthcare workers in direct contact with patients first on the list to be vaccinated.

Mr Reid said this morning: “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, stay safe.”

Higher Education Minister Simon Harris hailed the vaccine as a “milestone in this painful Covid-19 story”. Deputy Harris urged everybody to stay the course and to give the vaccine programme the time it requires to be rolled out nationwide.

Mr Harris’ message comes as Ireland’s daily case toll surged again on Christmas Day as there were 1,025 new cases and two further deaths.

Dr Tony Holohan, Chief Medical Officer of the HSE, yesterday confirmed that the new UK variant of the coronavirus was found in Ireland for the first time.

Dr Holohan said the virus was discovered by whole genome sequencing at the National Virus Reference Laboratory in UCD.

“Further testing in the coming days and weeks will establish the extent to which it is present here. In the meantime, it is vitally important that we each stay at home, avoid social contact and avoid all forms of non-essential travel,” Dr Holohan said.

The CMO said it was particularly important for anyone that arrived home from the UK quarantines for the full 14-day period after arrival.

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