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Serial Covid-19 testing in nursing homes showing positivity rate of just 0.2%, Reid says

As of Saturday evening, there were 523,069 vaccine doses administered across the country.

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IRELAND IS SEEING “great signs of impact” from vaccination with serial testing in nursing homes yielding a positivity rate of just 0.2%, HSE chief executive Paul Reid has said. 

As of Saturday evening, there were 523,069 vaccine doses administered across the country. 

Of these, 373,149 were first doses. A further 149,920 people have been fully vaccinated. 

The majority of vaccines have been administered to the first two cohorts – long-term care residents over the age of 65 and frontline healthcare workers – under the government’s prioritisation plan. 

So far, 97,681 people in the 70+ age group have received a first dose. Most of these are over the age of 85.

Vaccination of the fourth cohort – people aged 16-69 who are at very high risk of severe disease from Covid-19 – also began this week. 

In a tweet this morning, Reid confirmed that serial testing in nursing homes is showing a positivity rate of just 0.2%. 

Supply shortfalls

Ireland is set to miss its Q1 target of 1.2 million doses due to supply shortfalls amid calls to approach other countries to negotiate vaccine deals. 

The operating plan for administering vaccines in Ireland has already changed 15-17 times due to constraints with supply and changes to sequencing and prioritisation, Reid confirmed yesterday. 

Reid told the Oireachtas Joint Committee on Health yesterday that the health service’s experience with vaccine supply in the first three months of this year has been characterised by “high levels of frustration”.  

The HSE chief said earlier yesterday that the supply of AstraZeneca and Moderna vaccines had proven “unstable” to date and that previous targets of as many as 1.7 million vaccine doses supplied by the end of March were now not possible. Another target of 1.24 million vaccine doses may also not now be reached.

“Realistically we’re looking at 1.1 million [vaccine doses at the end of the month], going into 1.2 million in the first week of April,” he said.

However, Reid said that despite these supply issues, it still expects to receive as many as 3.8 million vaccine doses in April, May and June. This will include up to 600,000 of the Johnson & Johnson one-dose vaccine that could be approved by European authorities later this week. 

Public health officials last night confirmed a further 311 new cases of Covid-19 and 30 additional deaths in Ireland.

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With reporting by Cónal Thomas and Sean Murray

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