| 5.9°C Dublin

Ireland to accelerate vaccination rollout with 35,000 doses expected this week

Health Minister Stephen Donnelly said the programme is ‘accelerating quite quickly’ following an early delivery of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine.

Close

Ireland to accelerate vaccination rollout with 35,000 doses expected this week (Marc O’Sullivan/PA)

Ireland to accelerate vaccination rollout with 35,000 doses expected this week (Marc O’Sullivan/PA)

Ireland to accelerate vaccination rollout with 35,000 doses expected this week (Marc O’Sullivan/PA)

Ireland is accelerating its rollout of the coronavirus vaccine with 35,000 doses expected to be delivered this week, the Health Minister said.

That figure will be increased to 40,000 vaccines per week as more supply becomes available, Stephen Donnelly said.

Mr Donnelly said the rollout was “accelerating quite quickly”.

The rollout of the country’s nursing home vaccination programme gets under way this week.

Just based on the Pfizer vaccine we will we will be doing 40,000 vaccinations a weekHealth Minister Stephen Donnelly

So far, 4,000 people have received the vaccine since the first dose was administered on December 29.

Speaking to RTE’s News at One on Monday, Mr Donnelly said the 35,000 doses is an increase from 20,000 that was originally planned, due to an early shipment of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine.

He said: “Over the last few days I’ve been working very closely with the HSE, who are doing an incredible job, and we increased the vaccination target for this week from 20,000.

“Just as of this morning, we’ve now increased the vaccination target for this week to 35,000. That’s because we got a delivery from Pfizer two days earlier, and we are reacting immediately to that.”

He added: “If I was talking to you even five days ago, the amount that we felt we could do given the vaccinations we had in from Pfizer, was probably about 12,000.

“That was then accelerated to 20,000, and as of this morning – accelerated again to 35,000.

Close

Health Minister Stephen Donnelly (left) observing the first doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine arriving in the Republic of Ireland (Marc O’Sullivan/PA)

Health Minister Stephen Donnelly (left) observing the first doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine arriving in the Republic of Ireland (Marc O’Sullivan/PA)

PA

Health Minister Stephen Donnelly (left) observing the first doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine arriving in the Republic of Ireland (Marc O’Sullivan/PA)

“And that’s just based on the Pfizer vaccine, and remember there are other vaccines coming as well.

“Just based on the Pfizer vaccine we will be doing 40,000 vaccinations a week.”

It comes as the European Medicines Agency said a decision on whether to approve the Moderna coronavirus vaccine could be made on Monday.

In clinical trials the US-based Moderna’s jab was found to be 94.1% effective in preventing Covid-19 compared to a placebo.

It also has the advantage of not requiring the ultra-cold storage temperatures of minus 70 degrees Celsius needed by the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine.

Earlier on Monday, HSE chief executive Paul Reid said that the residents and staff at 25 nursing homes are due to receive their first doses of the vaccine this week.

The rollout of the State’s coronavirus vaccination programme began last week when 79-year-old grandmother Annie Lynch, from Dublin, became the first person in the Republic to receive the jab on December 29.

“This week we’ll be starting in 25 nursing homes and 20 hospitals across the country,” Mr Reid told RTE Radio 1’s Today with Claire Byrne.

He said they wanted to target the most vulnerable – residents and staff in nursing homes – in the next three weeks and follow that up with the second dose in the following three weeks.

There are about 70,000 people working and living in the nursing homes.

Mr Reid vowed the health service would “go at pace” to deliver the rollout of the vaccine.

This will be a seven-day programme utilising all the hours we have available to us in all of our healthcare settingsHSE chief executive Paul Reid

“Our first vaccine that we have available to us is the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine. We’re looking at a projected delivery of 40,000 per week,” he said.

“We will deliver 40,000 per week.”

He predicted that over the next six weeks the HSE would oversee the rollout of 240,000 vaccines, adding that the jab would be given to people seven days a week.

“This will be a seven-day programme utilising all the hours we have available to us in all of our healthcare settings,” Mr Reid said.

He said the programme had started on December 29 and it had continued everyday throughout the new year.

The HSE has set a target that all nursing home residents and staff will have received both doses of the jab by the end of February. But it is expected that potential outbreaks of the virus at nursing homes could affect that target.

Online Editors


Privacy