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100,000 vaccines set to be administered this week as government expects big supply increase from April

The health minister has said capacity is being built up to vaccinate 250,000 people a week.

Minister Donnelly visited the HSE Covid-19 Vaccination Centre in the Helix, DCU, at the weekend.
Minister Donnelly visited the HSE Covid-19 Vaccination Centre in the Helix, DCU, at the weekend.
Image: Julien Behal Photography

Updated Mon 11:32 AM

THE GOVERNMENT HAS said that 100,000 vaccinations will take place this week, with Ireland set to receive one million doses a month from April onwards.

Over 340,000 vaccine doses have been administered in Ireland so far, with 126,000 people fully vaccinated as of Friday. These are within the first two cohorts of frontline healthcare workers and residents in long-term care over the age of 65.

The latest figures mean that roughly around 2.5% of people in Ireland have been fully vaccinated against Covid-19.

At the weekend, vaccination of people aged 85 and over continued at GP surgeries and at centres such as the Helix in Dublin. 

Health Minister Stephen Donnelly said yesterday that the vaccine programme is being brought “firmly into the community”. 

“We’re expecting to see a big increase in vaccine supply from April,” he said. “If supplies arrive as they’ve been ordered, we’ll be receiving over a million vaccine doses per month from April onwards.

Right now, we’re building up the capacity to be able to vaccinate at least 250,000 people a week. 

He went on to say that the location of HSE vaccination centres had been announced last week. However, that announcement last week led to much confusion as not all of the 37 centres were fully confirmed

Vaccinations will continue this week with further second doses set to be administered for the first two cohorts and more over-85s will receive their first dose. Vaccine supply from April could be boosted if the European Medicines Agency approves the one-dose Johnson and Johnson vaccine. A decision on this is expected in mid-March.

In a tweet last night, Tánaiste Leo Varadkar said: “I know we’re getting tired of lockdown but here’s positive thought for the week ahead. Next week, for first time, more than 100,000 people will receive vaccine. Ramp-up continues. In April, it’ll be c250k a week. Vaccination works and will help us end pandemic. Summer should be better.”

The numbers in hospital, meanwhile, continues to fall. At 8pm last night, there were 737 people in hospital with Covid-19. This included 149 patients in intensive care. 

The government’s Covid-19 sub-committee is to discuss restrictions and re-opening schools today, ahead of an announcement on the next steps later this week.

‘Very big scaling up’ 

Speaking on Newstalk Breakfast this morning, HSE CEO Paul Reid said Ireland is due to get 1.24 million doses of the vaccine in the first quarter of this year, and about 3.8 million doses in the second quarter.

Reid said “a very big scaling up” is going to happen, “particularly in quarter two”, as long as supplies arrive as planned.

He said close to 80,000 people received a dose of the vaccine last week and this will increase to 100,000 people this week, increasing to “well over 100,000″ next week.

“So we’re beginning to see the scaling up and certainly as we get into April, we’re getting to a level of about a million (doses) a month to the 250,000.”

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Reid said vaccines are providing a “ray of hope” for people.

“Once we get the supply, we will deliver and we’ve proven that – we’re at a 95% level, anything we get here is administered,” he added.

With reporting by Órla Ryan

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Sean Murray

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