The pace of Ireland’s Covid-19 vaccine rollout is set to increase next week with the first doses administered to over-85s in the community and the first widespread use of the AstraZeneca vaccine.
The Health Service Executive (HSE) says about 40,000 second doses will be administered next week, along with a small number of first doses.
It expects to take delivery of 212,000 doses of the three approved vaccines in the second half of this month, compared to 338,000 since the first vaccines arrived here after Christmas.
As The Irish Times reports, HSE chief clinical officer Colm Henry said the vaccine programme in nursing homes and other congregated settings for people over the age of 70 is “almost complete”.
According to Dr Henry, five out of every 100 people in Ireland have now got the vaccine and 1.7 per cent are fully vaccinated.
As the Department of Health’s Covid-19 hub states, 248,284 vaccines had been administered up to last Tuesday – 158,904 first doses and 89,380 second doses.
The vast majority of doses administered have been Pfizer-BioNTech. Just 1,893 Moderna doses have been administered and 476 AstraZeneca.
A further 21,600 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccines arrived in Ireland yesterday, following the delivery of a similarly sized consignment last weekend.
Of the first delivery, 15,000 was sent to hospitals, 3,000 to the National Ambulance Service and 2,000 is being used in pop-up vaccination of primary care workers.
Some 3,600 Moderna doses arrived in Ireland a month ago, but half are being kept as second doses, to be administered in coming days.
Another 6,000 doses arrived on January 25th. These were originally intended for healthcare workers but after it was decided not to use the AstraZeneca vaccine on over-65s, the HSE decided to reserve them, and a further 10,800 doses that arrived this week, for older people.