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Ambulances outside the ED at the Mater Hospital in Dublin
Ambulances outside the ED at the Mater Hospital in Dublin
Image: Niall Carson via PA Images

Ireland reaches half a million vaccination doses milestone

There are currently 401 patients in hospital with Covid-19.
Mar 6th 2021, 9:30 AM 53,504 94

Updated Mar 6th 2021, 1:59 PM

IRELAND HAS REACHED the milestone of half a million coronavirus vaccines doses administered, Taoiseach Micheál Martin confirmed. 

“Just been informed by the HSE that we have passed the half a million mark of Covid Vaccine doses administered,” Martin tweeted. 

“Good news. The vaccines are having a significant impact on mortality and serious illness.”

In an earlier post, Martin hailed progress in the pandemic so far, saying he was inspired by recent visits to vaccination centres where thousands of front line healthcare workers are receiving the inoculation.

He said the government and the HSE are doing everything they can to secure supplies and to give those vaccines to people as quickly as possible.

The Taoiseach said the vaccines are reducing the impact of the virus.

“This can be seen in the reduced levels of infection in our nursing homes and amongst our frontline healthcare workers,” he said.

“This brings hope, along with the continued fall in Covid numbers thanks to the sacrifices you have been making.”

As of last night, the number of people with Covid-19 in intensive care units in Ireland is at its lowest level since early January. 

There are currently 401 patients in hospital with Covid-19, the lowest level since 29 December when there were 409 hospitalisations. 

The number of Covid-19 patients in hospital has been continuously falling since a peak of 2,020 cases in mid-January.

The number of people receiving care in an ICU has also steadily fallen in recent weeks, with 99 patients with Covid-19 in intensive care currently. This is the lowest level since 7 January when there were 101 people in ICU with Covid-19. 

Health officials yesterday confirmed that a further nine people with Covid-19 died in Ireland. 

The number of people with the virus who have died in Ireland now stands at 4,396. 

The National Public Health Emergency Team (NPHET) also said that 522 new cases of Covid-19 have been confirmed, bringing the total number of cases since the beginning of the pandemic in Ireland to 222,169. 

Confirming the current hospital figures this morning, HSE chief executive Paul Reid tweeted: “A great sign as our ICU numbers drop to 99 and hospitalisations to 401. 

“Further protections will happen throughout this weekend as GPs continue to vaccinate more over 80+ year olds.” 

Vaccine roll-out

Yesterday, Taoiseach Micheál Martin downplayed suggestions that Ireland could engage with individual states for unused Covid-19 vaccines.

Martin said other countries will use their vaccine supplies to protect their own populations.

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He said Germany has “made it very clear to us that they’ll be using all the vaccines they have”. 

France is planning to give AstraZeneca vaccines to people over the age of 65.

Speaking to reporters in Galway, Martin said: “Most countries are focused on getting their own vaccinations programmes done. The issue is really around the manufacturing and the production.”

It was reported on Thursday that the Health Minister Stephen Donnelly has asked the vaccine high-level task force to examine whether Ireland can procure extra vaccines in parallel with the EU supply deal.

A number of TDs had asked what was being done to get more vaccine supplies, pointing out that other countries in the EU were striking their own separate deals, including Germany.

“I have asked the task force to take at look at what other legitimate avenues might be available,” Donnelly said. 

The Taoiseach said yesterday that a firm stance was being taken at the European Commission level and the important factor was the arrival of the filled vials from manufacturers.

He said: “AstraZeneca are saying that they will make up the shortfalls so far, but we will see as time goes on. We are confident of significant additional supplies.”

He expressed optimism on meeting vaccination targets over the next number of months.

The Taoiseach added: “Europe is making additional efforts to increase capacity and supply.”

With reporting by Adam Daly and Press Association

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