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jab latest Ireland in line to receive extra 46,500 Covid-19 vaccines this month, Taoiseach says

It comes following a deal reached by the European Union to secure an additional four million doses of the Pfizer vaccine.

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Micheal Martin said Ireland is to receive an extra 46,500 Covid-19 vaccines by the end of the month (Julien Behal Photography/PA)

Micheal Martin said Ireland is to receive an extra 46,500 Covid-19 vaccines by the end of the month (Julien Behal Photography/PA)

Micheal Martin said Ireland is to receive an extra 46,500 Covid-19 vaccines by the end of the month (Julien Behal Photography/PA)

Ireland is to receive an extra 46,500 Covid-19 vaccines by the end of the month, Taoiseach Micheal Martin has confirmed.

It comes following a deal reached by the European Union to secure an additional four million doses of the Pfizer vaccine, which will be supplied across EU countries.

Mr Martin said the vaccines would arrive by the end of March.

He tweeted: “Pleased this morning to have confirmation from Commission President (Ursula von der Leyen) that Ireland will secure an additional 46,500 Pfizer BioNTech vaccines before the end of March. When they get here, they will be administered quickly. Efforts ongoing to increase production.”

The announcement will be widely welcomed by public health officials who have expressed frustration over vaccine supply lines.

HSE chief executive Paul Reid said that the first-quarter target was reduced to 1.1 million from an initial 1.7 million.

Tanaiste Leo Varadkar said: “Some positive news on vaccines despite overall slippage in the timeline.

“Ireland to receive 45k extra Pfizer vaccines this month via EU agreement and tomorrow we hope the single-dose Janssen vaccine will be approved.”

Meanwhile, new data has revealed a big jump in the number of people moving around in the last month.

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The first vials of the Pfizer-BioNTech and Oxford/AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccines on display (Aaron Chown/PA)

The first vials of the Pfizer-BioNTech and Oxford/AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccines on display (Aaron Chown/PA)

The first vials of the Pfizer-BioNTech and Oxford/AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccines on display (Aaron Chown/PA)

New figures show that retail and recreation mobility is up 16%, workplace mobility is up 7%, and footfall in Dublin city is up 29%.

A Government official said that was an increase of nearly 900,000 people.

Liz Canavan, assistant secretary at the Department of the Taoiseach, said that travel volumes increased in every county.

“Of course it’s understandable that numbers would increase with our children returning to schools, but it’s very important that we can continue to stay at home unless it is for an essential purpose,” Ms Canavan added.

The results from the Social Activity Measure (SAM) – a behavioural study – revealed an increase in mobility and social contact.

People found travelling more than 5km from their homes for non-essential journeys could be hit with a fine.

To date, around 12,000 fines have been issued by gardai for a range of Covid-19 breaches.

Ms Canavan said the country is seeing a gradual and careful progress towards reopening society.

“The vaccination programme is already providing protection to nearly 400,000 of the most vulnerable,” she added.

“The vaccines are highly effective. The impact is evident already in reductions of infection in long-term residential care and healthcare settings, allowing public health experts the scope to consider what options might be possible in those areas is most important to us all.

“Thanks to the vaccination programme we are on the way to a safer and more positive situation for our society.

“However, we must also note that we remain in a precarious position and we do not yet have sufficient vaccine rolled out to allow us to drop our guard.

“Overall numbers are falling, but cases and deaths remain high.”

She said that 13 counties still have a positivity rate which is over 10%.

The fact that we're making such steady progress is a testament to the efforts you're makingLiz Canavan

“The number of people in hospital this morning (370 patients), while vastly improved, is still an excess of the numbers at the peak of the second wave,” she added.

“We must also keep in mind that the variant of the virus which is now the most prevalent in the country, is significantly more transmissible than the previous strain.

“We have to imagine it is a brand new disease.

“The fact that we’re making such steady progress is a testament to the efforts you’re making.

“However, we must make sure that we don’t experience a fourth surge of the virus before the benefits of the vaccine can be experienced.

“We don’t ever want to return to the scenes we had here in January, the pressure on our health service, and the very sad outcomes for many families.”

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