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hospital capacity

3% of the population have been vaccinated, as Covid hospitalisations continue to fall

Health Minister Stephen Donnelly said that 66,000 people in long term residential care homes have been vaccinated.

HEALTH MINISTER STEPHEN Donnelly told the Dáil today that 3% of the Irish population has been vaccinated as of Sunday: 66,000 in long term residential care homes, and 77,000 healthcare workers.

Second doses being administered and will be stepped up this week, he told the Dáil.

Four out of 589 nursing homes were not included in the vaccine programme due to Covid-19 outbreaks in the facilities, and some other residents in other homes also were not vaccinated due to their Covid status.

Those that did not get their vaccine will get it when safe to do so, Donnelly said.


As of today, there are 1,620 people with Covid-19 in hospitals, with 216 people in ICUs, according to the Covid Data Hub

HSE Chief Paul Reid said this morning: “Some early signs of minor relief in Covid-19 hospital numbers. However our health system remains under relentless strain.

“Many very sick and vulnerable people will need care for some time. Our ICUs remain too close to a tipping point. Please continue to hold our guard.”

AstraZeneca row

Donnelly told the Dáil that as of last night, AstraZeneca was still unable to state how many doses it might be shipping from mid-March.

The EU are locked into a row with the pharma company AstraZeneca about the supply of its vaccine to the EU in the first quarter of the year.

EU health commissioner Stella Kyriakides said there have been “constructive” talks with AstraZeneca chief executive Pascal Soriot after telling the firm it is contractually obliged to send vaccines that are produced in the UK to 27 EU member states.

The impact on Ireland’s schedule of vaccinations is still unknown: Ireland was due to get 600,000 doses of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine in the first quarter of the year. This could fall to half that number in the first quarter, going by reports of the confidential deal.

The EU is still expected to get the approximately 400 million doses of the Covid vaccine, but the dispute is around the timing of the vaccine in the first quarter of the year as the EU grapples with another Covid surge across the bloc.

No EU member state yet knows how many AstraZeneca doses it will receive this quarter, Donnelly said.

Through the EU advanced purchase scheme, Ireland is due to get 14.4 million doses of various vaccines. Without the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine, Ireland is still due to get 11 million of other vaccines – some of which haven’t been approved yet.

“Through the EU advance purchase arrangement, we have pre-purchased 14.4 vaccine million doses. AstraZeneca will not disappear and we will start receiving its vaccine very soon, but even if, hypothetically, we got no AstraZeneca vaccines, of which we have pre-ordered 3.3 million, we would still have over 11 million doses of other vaccines. That is absolutely the way to go.”

Epidemiological situation

Public health officials confirmed a further 1,335 new cases of Covid-19 yesterday, bringing the total number of cases to 191,182. There were 54 more deaths.

The positivity rate is 6.6% overall, and 8.1% in the last seven days.

With reporting from Christina Finn.

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