Covid-19 vaccination to be accelerated up as new infections rocket

Conor Ganly

Reporter:

Conor Ganly

coronavirus covid-19

Pfizer BioNtech Vaccines used in Portlaoise hospital this week

The Minister for Health has announced an acceleration of Ireland's Covid-19 vaccination programme.

Minister Stephen Donelly said it is hoped to finish the first phase of vaccination of frontline health workers and residents of nursing homes by the end of January.

“By the end of this week, our plan is to have given over 40,000 vaccines to frontline healthcare workers and nursing home staff and residents, the plan is on target. 

“We’re now going to accelerate our plan for residents and staff in long term residential care facilities – this means nursing homes as well as mental health and disability residential centres.”

“We had planned to vaccinate all 75,000 residents and staff with the first dose of the vaccine by the end of January. We’re now accelerating this plan to finish earlier, meaning that the first dose will be given to all residents and staff in the next two weeks.”

“We’re mobilising 65 vaccination teams including hospital vaccinators, community vaccinators, school vaccinators and the National Ambulance Service. Vaccinations will take place seven days a week.”

“We’ve decided to use some of our one week buffer as our supply of vaccines has been constant and we’ve received solid reassurance from Pfizer that this will continue to be the case.”

“Speed is of the essence and this is especially true for the most vulnerable people in our society,” he said.

A statement said the Minister also noted today’s announcement by the European Commission in relation to additional doses of Pfizer/BioNTech’s vaccine under the Advance Purchase Agreement negotiated on behalf of Member States.

Minister Donnelly said this is good news for Europe.

More than 8,000 people were confirmed as having contracted the virus on January 7 in the latest figures published by NPHET

Minister Donnelly also welcomed the agreement between 16 private hospitals and the HSE to provide additional hospital capacity to HSE, to deal with the surge in Covid-19 cases and any further surges in the pandemic, if they arise within the next 12 months.