The first shipment of Covid-19 vaccines has arrived in the Republic of Ireland, with vaccination set to begin on December 30th.
Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly tweeted: “When is a fridge worth photographing? When it’s just had Ireland’s first #Covid vaccines put in it.”
Frontline healthcare workers and nursing home residents will be the first people to receive the vaccine.
When is a fridge worth photographing? When it’s just had Ireland’s first #Covid vaccines put in it 👍
The first doses have just arrived and many of them are sitting in that very, very cold fridge.
We’ll begin vaccinating in four days. #holdfirm. pic.twitter.com/T9zletiOBS
— Stephen Donnelly (@DonnellyStephen) December 26, 2020
The Pfizer vaccine has to be kept at a temperature well below zero and it is being stored in special low-temperature freezers at the National Cold Chain Centre.
HSE director-general Paul Reid called it a 'momentous day,' as the Pfizer jab arrives in the country.
It comes after the Department of Health confirmed the new variant of Covid-19, first detected in the UK, is in Ireland.
1,025 new cases of the virus and two deaths were reported yesterday.
UK arrivals are being urged to self-isolate for 14 days while a testing system can be set up.
Meanwhile, Taoiseach Micheál Martin has warned that it will take at least six months for some normality to return to life as vaccine roll-out progresses.
Mr Martin said: “The first six months of 2021 we will see improvements, but we certainly not will see normality in the first six months.”
The European Union approved the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine in December.
The European Medicines Agency issued a provisional marketing authorisation.
Nursing home residents are among the priority groups.
Mr Martin said that initial phase would make a “significant difference” and protect the most vulnerable.
He added: “Certainly manufacturing of the vaccine will be ramped up, certainly from March onwards.”
Mr Martin said May and June had been identified as “critical” months.