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HSE aiming for 25,000 completed vaccines by end of next week as first jabs take place in Cork hospitals

The executive says 25 nursing homes will see vaccines take place next week.

Dr Deirdre O'Brien receives a vaccine from Mercy Director of Nursing Margaret McKiernan.
Dr Deirdre O'Brien receives a vaccine from Mercy Director of Nursing Margaret McKiernan.
Image: Twitter/Sinead Horgan

HEALTH AUTHORITIES ARE aiming for 25,000 vaccinations to be completed in the Republic of Ireland by the end of next week. 

The first vaccination in this country was carried out on Tuesday with today seeing doses administered to healthcare staff in Cork. 

Speaking on RTÉ’s Morning Ireland programme, HSE CEO Paul Reid said that Ireland has so far taken delivery of 40,000 vaccine doses and that, as of last night 1,800 had been administered. 

The first batch of 2,000 doses were distributed to four hospitals with a further 2,000 today and this weekend being sent to the South/Southwest Hospital Group.

“What we’ll be doing next week is moving into 25 nursing homes and across a further 17 hospitals, all hospital groups. So by the end of the next week we will have vaccines utilised for about 25,000 completed,” Reid said.

Now that’s of the 40,000 that we have received so far. So we have to keep the kind of stock until we get a second delivery, which we’re expecting this week. And then we ramp up the following week, where we start on 160 nursing homes across the country, and all nursing homes will be done over a three-week period. And then the second vaccination over the following three weeks. 

With the 2,000 doses being sent to the South/Southwest Hospital Group, Mercy University Hospital in Cork has said it has received 500 doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech Covid -19 vaccine.

Dr. Kieran O’Connor, the hospital’s Clinical Director and Consultant in Medicine for Older Persons, was the first member of staff to receive the Pfizer vaccination.

O’Connor said that he was honoured and delighted to receive the first vaccine and encouraged everyone to do likewise to protect themselves and their loved ones.

Mercy University Hospital CEO Sandra Daly said today was “a day of hope and optimism” but urged people to “continue to follow government public health guidelines”.

Two-dose

At present, only the Pfizer/BioNtech Covid-19 vaccine is licensed for use in the EU but further vaccines from Moderna and Oxford/AstraZenaca are expected in the coming weeks. 

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In the UK, a new dosing regimen for the vaccine rollout is to be implemented, meaning that the focus will be on giving at-risk people the first dose of whichever vaccine they receive, rather than providing the recommended two doses in as short a time as possible.

The UK’s chief medical officers have said a first Covid-19 vaccine dose offers “substantial” protection, urging health service colleagues to back the plans to delay second doses so more people can have their initial jab.

Despite this, GPs have warned the regimen change will affect tens of thousands of elderly and vulnerable patients who were due to get their second dose of the Pfizer jab in the coming days and weeks, and will need to be rebooked.

Asked whether a similar change would be made in Ireland, Reid said that the HSE is “working on a two-vaccine basis” but that the National Immunisation Advisory Committee (NIAC) will examine if any change are required. 

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Rónán Duffy

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