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How is Ireland's vaccine rollout going? Here's what this week's figures tell us

To hit 80% first doses 10 weeks from now about 2.2 million first doses will need to be administered by 30 June.

EACH WEEK WE’VE been taking a look at Ireland’s Covid-19 situation by examining and comparing data from previous weeks. Over the coming weeks we’ll be focusing on Ireland’s vaccine rollout.

With only 10 weeks until the Government’s target date of giving 80% of adults in Ireland at least a first dose, let’s take a look at our progress. 

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A total of 1,275,828 doses had been administered in Ireland as of Wednesday, according to the most recent HSE figures.

Some 23.1% of people over the age of 16 have had a first dose with 9.5% of adults fully vaccinated.

Last week, over 140,000 doses were administered. Ireland’s roll-out will need to accelerate significantly in May and June if the target of giving 80% of adults a first dose by 30 June is to be met.

To hit that mark about 2.125 million first doses will need to have been administered by 30 June.

With over 905,000 people having already been given a first dose, much of this cohort [534,00] also require a second dose.

That’s a further 534,000 doses required by 30 June, bringing the total now to 2,735,000 doses. 

However, we also need to factor in that people who receive a first dose of Pfizer-BioNTech over the next six weeks will be given a second dose no later than four weeks after.

Consideration is currently being given by NIAC to extending the time between first and second doses of Pfizer-BioNTech from 4 weeks to 12 weeks which would lead to more first doses administered among the population but fewer people being fully protected from Covid-19. 

Screenshot 2021-04-23 15.29.33 - Display 2 Source: Department of Health

Meanwhile, a restructuring of Ireland’s rollout following advice from the National Immunisation Advisory Committee (NIAC) on AstraZeneca and a temporary pause of J&J has hindered progress.

HSE CEO Paul Reid said this week a “deeply frustrating” scenario rolls on with AstraZeneca.

Ireland is due to receive 224,000 doses of AstraZeneca this month but as of 12 April had only received 14,400. 

The company is due to deliver 165,000 doses to Ireland on 3 May, which will make a significant difference as those vaccines are rolled out solely to people in their 60s. 

But should AstraZeneca deliveries continue to fall short, Ireland will find itself increasingly dependent on the reliability of Pfizer-BioNTech. 

Delivery of these doses gives cause for optimism.

Pfizer-BioNTech has been consistently delivering an average of 135,000 doses to Ireland this month with a delivery of 191,000 doses due on Monday next and 182,000 doses the following week. 

Even if AstraZeneca fails to meet its obligations, deliveries from Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna and J&J in May should allow HSE to significantly improve Ireland’s rollout. 

Screenshot 2021-04-23 15.34.46 - Display 2 Source: HSE

As officials closely watch deliveries, the HSE this week moved to vaccinating Cohort 5 – starting with people aged 65-69 after its online portal opened last week.

As of Wednesday, 13,800 people in this category had been given first doses as vaccines continue to be administered to Cohort 4 – people aged 16-69 who are at very high-risk. 

The online registration portal for people aged 60-64 also opened this week.

download (16) Source: Department of Health

This week also saw Chief Medical Officer Dr Tony Holohan return to his role at the Department of Health after a period of leave. 

On Thursday, he confirmed 617 new cases of Covid-19 in Ireland – a high number NPHET said this week is likely an aberration explained by more people being allowed to meet outdoors 10 days ago on 12 April. 

A total of 1,810 new cases of Covid-19 were confirmed across Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday – compared to 1,492 new cases reported over the same period last week and 1,586 the previous week.

Ireland’s national incidence rate is 118.1 cases per 100,000 of the population on a 14-day rolling average, according to data from the Health Protection Surveillance Centre, compared to 119 this day last week and 147.3 on 9 April. 

Looking at 14-day incidence rates in individual counties, Donegal is the county with the highest incidence of Covid-19 in Ireland at 256.9 cases per 100,000.

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Offaly is the second-highest county in Ireland with a 14-day incidence rate of 212.9 while KIldare is third-highest at 200.

Looking at Local Electoral Area data, Ongar, Co Dublin is the area with the highest individual incidence of Covid-19 at 440.9 cases per 100,000.

For a breakdown of Covid-19 incidence rates in LEAs around Ireland, see here

Counties with the current lowest incidence rates include Kilkenny (22.2), Cork (35) and Kerry (37.9).

Looking to Europe, Ireland still has one of the lowest incidence rates among European countries, behind Finland (82.35) and Portugal (75.05)

European countries with the highest rate of Covid-19 include Cyprus (962), France (693) and Croatia (690).

Cases in hospital continue to decline.

There were 19 hospital admissions in the last 24 hours and 12 discharges up to Friday.

There were – as of Friday morning – 182 confirmed Covid-19 cases in hospital and 48 people in Intensive Care Units.

On Friday 20 March, there were 336 people hospitalised with Covid-19, reducing 226 on 9 April to 182 on Friday.

Approximately 109,000 tests have been carried out over the past 7 days up to Friday – an increase since last week but lower than a 110,000 test average per week between 27 March and 9 April.

The positivity rate remains at 2.8% having stood at 2.8% on Friday last week and 3% two weeks ago.

With reporting by Nicky Ryan

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