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GPs and practice nurses vaccinated at mass centres

A requirement for travellers into Ireland to produce evidence of a negative test result has also come into effect.

Image: PA

A MASS VACCINATION drive for GPs and practice nurses has opened in three centres around Ireland.

Three centres delivering Moderna vaccine jabs have been opened in Dublin, Galway and Portlaoise and will operate across the weekend.

The initiative has been rolled out as the authorities adjust wider vaccination plans to reflect the temporary reduction in supply of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccines.

The slow down in supply to European countries is due to Pfizer upgrading its production facilities in Belgium.

Ireland hopes to have vaccinated four million people by the end of September.

Tweet by @Paul Reid Source: Paul Reid/Twitter

Tánaiste Leo Varadkar said supply was the only factor that would limit the speed of the programme rollout.

He said the anticipated European approval of the Oxford/AstraZeneca jab at the end of January would be significant.

“The truth is the only constraint at the moment is supply,” he said.

“We can speed it up but not until the AstraZeneca/Oxford vaccine is approved.

“We’re hoping that’s going to happen on January 29 and that will allow us then to scale-up and speed-up the programme and we’ll get that vaccine out to GP surgeries, pharmacies, mass-vaccination centres, and that will really allow us to increase the numbers being vaccinated every week quite considerably.”

Another 50 Covid-19 deaths were confirmed in Ireland on Friday, along with 3,498 new cases of the virus.

Today, bolstered travel restrictions came into effect requiring passengers arriving into ports and airports to provide proof of a negative Covid-19 test.

Passengers need to show evidence of their test result prior to boarding any plane or ferry bound for Ireland and also produce it to immigration officials upon arrival.

The PCR (Polymerase Chain Reaction) test for coronavirus must have been taken within 72 hours of departure.

Failure to produce evidence of a negative test result on arrival in Ireland in a criminal offence attracting a fine of up to 2,500 euro or a prison sentence of up to six months.

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The new rules do not apply to anyone travelling from Northern Ireland.

Some international travellers are exempt from the new requirements, including international transport workers in the aviation, maritime and road haulage sectors.

Children aged six and under are also exempt.

Transit passengers who stop off in Ireland en route to another destination and do not leave the airport also do not need to produce a negative test result.

Extra restrictions apply to travellers arriving from Great Britain, South Africa and Brazil.

The measures, introduced in response to the emergence of new Covid-19 variants in those places, require passengers to self-isolate for 14 days on arrival in Ireland.

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