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Health Minister commits to accelerated vaccination programme

Stephen Donnelly

The Minister for Health, Stephen Donnelly, has announced that there will be an increase in vaccinations this month.

The original plan had been to vaccinate all 75,000 residents and staff in nursing homes, mental health and disability residential  centres by the end of January.

However, the Fianna Fail TD now says all of these people will receive their first dose in the next two weeks.

Minister Donnelly said: “By the end of this week, our plan is to have given over 40,000 vaccines to frontline healthcare workers and nursing home staff and residents, the plan is on target.”

“We’re now going to accelerate our plan for residents and staff in long term residential care facilities – this means nursing homes as well as mental health and disability residential centres.”

“We had planned to vaccinate all 75,000 residents and staff with the first dose of the vaccine by the end of January. We’re now accelerating this plan to finish earlier, meaning that the first dose will be given to all residents and staff in the next two weeks.”

“We’re mobilising 65 vaccination teams including hospital vaccinators, community vaccinators, school vaccinators and the National Ambulance Service. Vaccinations will take place seven days a week.”

“We’ve decided to use some of our one week buffer as our supply of vaccines has been constant and we’ve received solid reassurance from Pfizer that this will continue to be the case.”

 “Speed is of the essence and this is especially true for the most vulnerable people in our society.”

Minister Donnelly also reacted to the announcement of the purchase of additional doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech’s vaccine under the Advance Purchase Agreement negotiated on behalf of Member States.

The Health Minister commented: “This news is good for Europe and I look forward to reviewing the options which will be made available to Ireland. No decisions have been taken as to the allocation of additional dosages to Member States at this stage.”

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