First delivery of Covid vaccines arrives in Ireland

ireland
Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly next to a special low-temperature freezer holding the first batch of Covid-19 vaccines to arrive in the Republic of Ireland.
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James Cox

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.

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.

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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.

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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.”

Vaccine approval

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.

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