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Everyone in Ireland to be vaccinated by end of September, health minister says

As of Wednesday night, 121,900 vaccines have been given to frontline healthcare workers, as well as residents and staff in nursing homes.

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A dose of Moderna vaccine against COVID-19 is prepared at the vaccination centre in Phoenix Park, Dublin, as mass vaccination drive for GPs and practice nurses has begun in Ireland (Sam Boal/Photocall Ireland/PA)

A dose of Moderna vaccine against COVID-19 is prepared at the vaccination centre in Phoenix Park, Dublin, as mass vaccination drive for GPs and practice nurses has begun in Ireland (Sam Boal/Photocall Ireland/PA)

A dose of Moderna vaccine against COVID-19 is prepared at the vaccination centre in Phoenix Park, Dublin, as mass vaccination drive for GPs and practice nurses has begun in Ireland (Sam Boal/Photocall Ireland/PA)

Every person in the country will be offered a vaccine against Covid-19 by September, the Health Minister has said.

As of Wednesday night, 121,900 vaccines have been given to frontline healthcare workers, as well as residents and staff in nursing homes.

The latest figures show that 73,100 vaccinations have been given to frontline health workers and 48,800 to staff and residents of long-term care facilities.

The majority of those in nursing home care facilities will be vaccinated by Sunday, Stephen Donnelly said.

On Thursday, Minister Donnelly told the Dail that the Government’s plan is to vaccinate every Irish citizen and resident by the end of September.

The projection is based on approval of the AstraZeneca vaccine by the European Medicines Agency, scheduled for January 29.

He said: “At that point we will be in a position to provide more accurate vaccination timelines for all citizens.

“I know people are looking for it and I hear that loud and clear and fully agree.

“As I said before, we are planning our programme based on a supply of vaccines that would mean every citizen can be vaccinated by September.”

He added: “We are on target to have the nursing home residents and staff vaccinated.

“We set an ambitious target for this Sunday to have them all done or to have all of them done except for the outliers, where there will be residents who, because they have Covid-19, cannot be vaccinated.”

Ireland is line for 3.3 million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine if and when it is approved.

It seems that as many of as a third of patients in hospital got Covid in hospitalLeo Varadkar

Meanwhile, the Tanaiste has said there are “real concerns” over the numbers of people contracting Covid-19 while in hospital.

The number of patients acquiring Covid-19 in Irish hospitals is of “real concern”, the Tanaiste has said.

He told the Dail: “It seems that as many of as a third of patients in hospital got Covid in hospital.

“They didn’t come in Covid positive, they picked up Covid while in the hospital.

“Some of them may not be sick as result, they may be sick for a different reason.

“But it still is a matter of real concern that so many people are acquiring Covid in our hospitals.”

Speaking during Leaders’ Questions, Mr Varadkar said that while mass-testing sometimes takes place where there is an outbreak of coronavirus in hospital wards, this can often distract from patient care.

Mr Varadkar also poured cold water on calls to introduce a mandatory 14 day quarantine for travellers arriving in the country, saying it would be “disproportionate” and “unworkable”.

He was responding to questions from Social Democrats co-leader Catherine Murphy, who has obtained data showing some 49% of incoming travellers are failing to comply with passenger locator forms.

Mr Varadkar said the number of people entering the country has reduced  to about 33,000 people a week.

He said many of them were travelling for essential reasons such as work or visiting dying relatives.

He added: “We do need to make sure that we don’t cut off essential travel entirely because sometimes it is necessary.”

Thursday saw a further 51 deaths due to Covid-19 and 2,608 new cases recorded by the Department of Health.

There were a total of 1,949 people in hospital with the virus on Thursday morning with a record 214 people with the disease in intensive care units.

The 14-day incidence rate of the disease now stands at 1,141 cases per 100,000 population.

PA


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