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More than 250k vaccines administered in one week, as hospitalisations drop to 106

It is still unclear if expenditure on PPE and other equipment will taper off as the vaccination programme progresses.

Image: Leon Farrell/Photocall Ireland

Updated May 12th 2021, 2:10 PM

THE VACCINE ROLLOUT hit a crucial target in the past week, as the HSE reports a total spend of €500 million on Covid-19 measures so far.

Almost 261,000 doses were administered in the week leading up to 10 May, according to the latest data. The government previously indicated the rollout will be at this scale by the end of the month.

This suggests the government’s target of having 80% of the eligible population with a first dose by 30 June is within grasp.

According to analysis of the figures by The Journal, the 80% figure will be passed on 3 July, if the pace of the rollout continues to improve in line with expectations.

Even if no improvement is made, the 80% figure will be reached on 17 July at the current pace of vaccination.

These figures are subject to change if the rollout falters in some way.

Click here to see a larger version of this graph.

The most recent figures provided by the Department of Health this afternoon show that Ireland received 182,500 Pfizer-BioNTech doses last week and 32,400 Moderna doses.  

There were no Johnson & Johnson or AstraZeneca doses delivered last week, however Ireland received by far its largest delivery of AstraZeneca the previous week when 174,800 doses were delivered. 

The HSE is still awaiting a decision from the National Immunisation Advisory Committee (NIAC) on the future use of the J&J one-shot dose. 

The advice up to now has been to use this vaccine primarily for people over 50 but Chief Medical Officer Dr Tony Holohan has asked NIAC for updated advice in the context where the over 50s would be all be vaccinated to see how the J&J jab should then be used. 

Updated advice from NIAC is expected tomorrow. 

There are now 106 people in hospital with Covid-19, the latest HSE data shows.

According to the HSE’s operations report from across all hospitals, as of 8pm last night there were 106 people in hospital with Covid-19, which fell from 117 people from 8am yesterday.

As of 6.30pm, there are 34 people in ICU. 

The hospitals with the highest numbers of Covid-19 patients last night include Mater Hospital (14), Tallaght Hospital (11) and Connolly Hospital Blanchardstown (9).

Deputy Chief Medical Officer Dr Ronan Glynn said on Twitter this morning that there is “compelling evidence” from around the world that vaccines are very effective.

Real-world data from Qatar and Israel shows that two doses of the Pfizer vaccine are extraordinarily effective (>96%) at preventing severe or fatal Covid-19 disease.

Glynn said that real-world data from Scotland suggested the Pfizer and AstraZeneca vaccines are 91% and 88% effective, respectively, at preventing hospitalisation four weeks after the first dose.

A UK study has also suggested that vaccines cut the spread in households by up to half.

“By getting vaccinated, you help protect those around you,” he said.

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Meanwhile, the HSE has so far spent €500 million on all Covid-19 policies, equipment, and the vaccine programme.

The Government is predicting that the Covid-19 programme will cost the Department of Health €2.493 billion for the year, against a budgetary allocation of €2.171 billion. This  leaves a potential shortfall in gross terms of up to €372 million.

It is still unclear if expenditure on PPE and other equipment will taper off as the vaccination programme progresses, which could result in savings.

Estimates for 2021 were conducted without factoring in the cost of the Covid-19 vaccine programme, which now has a gross cost estimate of up to €473 million for all of 2021.

This covers vaccine procurement, GP payments for administering the vaccine, and all associated costs of the vaccine centres.

The Minister for Health has made an initial allocation of €200 million for the vaccine programme and remaining funding will have to be allocated from savings elsewhere.

A start on Sláintecare

The Government has also approved funding of €3.69 billion over the next three years, under the Sláintecare Implementation Strategy & Action Plan 2021-23.

Over the next three years, the government plans to: begin construction on new elective hospitals in Cork, Dublin and Galway; hire 7,000 new community-based healthcare staff; set-up 31 new Primary Care Centres; and invest in 32 Community Specialist Hubs for older people and people living with chronic disease.

Contains reporting by Nicky Ryan and Cónal Thomas

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