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No need to run vaccination centres 24/7, says Health Minister Donnelly

The National Public Health Emergency Team asked the HSE to examine the possibility of 24/7 vaccination centres.

Image: Leah Farrell

HEALTH MINISTER STEPHEN Donnelly has said that there is currently no need for Covid-19 vaccination centres to run 24 hours a day.

The Minister made the comments on Ireland AM this morning, saying that the National Public Health Emergency Team (NPHET) had asked the HSE to examine whether or not they would be capable of operating the centres 24/7.

Donnelly says that while it would be possible to run the centres 24 hours a day, due to current vaccination capacity it wouldn’t be necessary.

He mentioned the work GP’s have been doing within their own practices, as well as pharmacists, which Donnelly wants to see play a “bigger and bigger role” in the vaccine rollout.

However, Donnelly did say that if it is necessary to meet vaccine targets, it would be something that would be looked at.

“If we need to run the vaccine centres 24 hours a day to meet the target of getting the vaccines out as quickly as possible, it is absolutely something we can do,” Donnelly said.

Currently, 30 of the 38 planned mass vaccination centres are in operation, with the majority of them operating seven days a week.

On the current targets for vaccinations, Donnelly says that it will be possible to hit 80% first doses in the adult population by the end of June if the delivery schedule remains as planned.

This is slightly below the 82% that was originally promised by Taoiseach Micheál Martin in his national address in February.

“As things stand today, if we get the vaccines in according to schedule number one, and if we keep getting them out as soon as they come into the country, then we will be at around 80% [first doses] at the end of June,” Donnelly said.

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Hospitalisations due to Covid-19 have remained steady overnight, as the vaccine portal opens for those aged 58 this morning.

As of 8am this morning, there are 144 people in hospital with Covid-19 according to Ireland’s Covid-19 data hub.

As of 11:30am yesterday, there were 41 people receiving treatment for Covid-19 in ICU.

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