Doctors to cleaning staff: Over 15,000 vaccinated against Covid-19 in Republic

ireland
Doctors To Cleaning Staff: Over 15,000 Vaccinated Against Covid-19 In Republic
The number includes frontline workers such as contract cleaners, doctors and nurses. Photo: AP/Press Association Images.
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By Sarah Mooney. Additional reporting by Press Association.

More than 15,000 people have received their first dose of a Covid-19 vaccine in the Republic.

On Thursday, HSE chief Paul Reid confirmed that 15,314 people had received a dose to date as the national immunisation programme rolls out to frontline workers and care home residents.

By the end of the week, Mr Reid said 35,000 doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech jab will have been administered.

Speaking at a weekly update on the HSE’s pandemic response, he described the vaccination programme as a “great light” and “great hope” as the country faces the weeks ahead.

“It has given a great lift to the country and it has given a great inspirational lift to our healthcare workers,” he said.

Also attending the briefing, frontline worker and consultant in infectious diseases Clíona Ní Cheallaigh added that 2,500 vaccines had already been distributed at St James’s Hospital in Dublin, where she works on a Covid-19 ward.

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Dr Ní Cheallaigh said it was important to note this number included frontline workers such as contract cleaners, as doctors and nurses were not the only people in contact with patients.

Seven-day programme

Mr Reid emphasised that vaccines would be administered as they were available, beyond a five-day working week schedule.

“This is a seven-day programme,” he said.

The HSE chief said the country’s vaccination programme had “been embraced very significantly” since its commencement.

With two deliveries of the Pfizer/BioNTech jab having arrived so far, the first shipment of over 27,000 doses had been fully distributed by Wednesday evening of this week.

The distribution of the second shipment would be completed by Sunday, Mr Reid said.

Distribution was ongoing in 35 locations around the country, with 32,000 frontline healthcare workers being vaccinated across seven hospital groups.

The roll-out to long-term residential care facilities across 25 locations would continue “right throughout the weekend,” Mr Reid said.

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The HSE’s chief clinical officer Dr Colm Henry added the commencement of the vaccination programme was the “first step” in the national journey out of Covid-19.

The only limit on distribution would be the confirmed volumes of delivery, he said.

It comes as Mr Reid warned at the same briefing  that the health service is dealing with an “extraordinary national crisis” as healthcare workers fight to save the lives of those with the virus.

Frontline healthcare workers were seeing “very worrying signs” of a return to the situation they faced in spring, Dr Ní Cheallaigh said.

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