Almost 320,000 people in the Republic have received at least one dose of a Covid vaccine, new figures show.
A total of 446,474 vaccines were administered up to March 2nd – 316,059 first doses and 144,581 second doses.
More than 63,000 people aged over 70 (Cohort 3 in the vaccine priority list) have received their first dose.
Health officials hope to vaccinate 10,000 people aged 16 to 64 with chronic conditions in the coming week.
In the North, more than 565,000 people had received their first jab by March 4th, while just over 40,000 are fully vaccinated.
Vaccinations have been extended to people aged 60 to 64 in Northern Ireland.
The update means that almost 6.5 per cent of the Republic's total population has received at least one dose of a coronavirus vaccine, compared to more than 29 per cent in the North.
According to the latest available data on March 5th, Ireland has the eighth highest vaccination rate in the European Union, behind Malta, Hungary, Denmark, Lithuania, Greece, Estonia and Poland.
The UK, Serbia, Turkey, Iceland, Norway and Switzerland have also administered more vaccines per head of population than Ireland.
In absolute numbers, Germany is the EU country with the most doses administered, with 6.8 million given out.
Globally, the United States has given the most doses overall, with more than 82 million, while China has administered 52.5 million.
Israel, the United Arab Emirates and the UK top the global list when the figures are broken down by population, with 99, 63 and 32 doses administered per 100 people respectively.
Meanwhile, the World Health Organisation has said the arrival of Covid vaccines should not tempt countries to relax efforts to fight the pandemic, citing particular concern about the situation in Brazil.
“We think we're through this. We're not,” Mike Ryan, WHO's top emergency expert, told an online briefing. “Countries are going to lurch into third and fourth surges if we're not careful.”
Earlier on Friday, Nigeria vaccinated its first person against the disease, kicking off a mammoth campaign that aims to inoculate 80 million people this year.
Vaccinating all of Nigeria's 200 million people and those in other developing countries is seen as key to stemming the global spread of the coronavirus.
Nigeria is aiming to vaccinate 40 per cent of its people this year, and a further 30 per cent in 2022.
It took delivery of 3.92 million doses of the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine on Tuesday through the Covax scheme and expects to receive 84 million doses via Covax this year.
The scheme for poor and middle-income countries is co-led by Gavi, the vaccine alliance, and the WHO, with UNICEF as an implementing partner. – Additional reporting: Reuters