Up to 280,000 set to be immunised as vaccine rollout accelerates

Some 250,000 shots given this week, with 2,000,000-dose milestone now surpassed

Among housebound patients, 2,400 have received a first dose and 1,000 a second dose. File photograph: Getty

Among housebound patients, 2,400 have received a first dose and 1,000 a second dose. File photograph: Getty

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Up to 280,000 people will be immunised against coronavirus next week as the State’s vaccine rollout accelerates.

About 250,000 doses are being administered this week, with the two-millionth dose milestone being passed on Thursday, said Health Service Executive boss Paul Reid. Mr Reid said there there was “joy and confidence emerging” from vaccination centres as the rollout continues.

One-in-seven adults are now vaccinated fully while 37 per cent have received one dose.

“It feels like we’re all feeling better, which is better for the health services,” Mr Reid told the HSE’s weekly Covid-19 briefing.

“We’re 2-0 up and it feels like we’re winning,” he said. “But many a good lead was lost in the second half of the game.”

“It’s not over,” added Mr Reid of the pandemic, “we’re still in the game, but on the right side of it”.

The HSE administered 235,000 vaccines last week, with a highest daily total of 50,000 on Friday. This week, 250,00 vaccines will be administered, rising to 260-280,000 next week.

So far, 96 per cent of those aged 85 and over have received a dose. Among 80-84 year-olds, 99 per cent have been vaccinated.

The figure for 75 to 79 year-olds is 97 per cent, for 70-74 year-olds 92 per cent. With inoculation of the 60-69 year-olds proceeding at present, 73 per cent have received one dose, falling to 26.5 per cent for 50 to 59-year-olds.

So far, GPs have immunised 900,000 people and this will rise to 1.2 million by the end of next week.

The harm done by Covid-19 is reducing to level last seen in July 2020 due to “the vaccine effect”, said HSE chief clinical officer Colm Henry.

Less than 1 per cent of the 6,175 cases over the past 14 days have been among people over the age of 75.

Among housebound patients, 2,400 have received a first dose and 1,000 a second dose. About 500 patients a week in this cohort are being immunised.

ICU admissions

Hospital numbers and admissions of Covid-19 patients fell 10 per cent last week, as did intensive care unit admissions.

HSE advice to maternity units is that partners should be allowed to be present “during all stages of labour”, said Dr Henry.

However, some hospitals had interpreted this to mean “later stages of labour”.

There is a pent-up demand for hospital services and many patients are sicker than normal when presenting for treatment, according to HSE chief operating officer Anne O’Connor.

The outpatient waiting list, which has 630,000 patients on it, has “stopped growing”, she said, while inpatient lists have been cut from 100,000 to 77,000.

Mr Reid acknowledged visiting restrictions at maternity hospitals had caused “a lot of anxiety” to couples. But he noted that hospitals have a “very challenging role” to ensure staff and patients are safe.

He said hospital groups have been advised to comply with the conditions set out by the HSE.

More than 5,600 staff and residents in mandatory hotel quarantine have been tested and 119 have tested positive, the briefing was told.