161,500 vaccines administered as HSE to resume testing close contacts

The HSE confirmed today the testing of close contacts of a confirmed Covid-19 case will resume tomorrow.
161,500 vaccines administered as HSE to resume testing close contacts

GP Mary Behan administering the Moderna vaccine against Covid-19 to GP Ellaheebuksh Muhammud Fardeen, VHI Clinic Dundrum, at a vaccination centre in Dublin as mass vaccination drive for GPs and practice nurses has begun in Ireland.

Ireland has administered a total of 161,500 vaccines to date, the HSE have said.

As of January 27, 71,600 doses have been administered to long-term residents in care facilities.

A further 89,900 were given to frontline health care workers with 13,800 second doses administered.

Announcing the latest figures this afternoon, Health Minister Stephen Donnelly praised those involved with the vaccine roll-out.

"Huge credit to our HSE vaccinators, our hospitals and nursing homes all over the country who are working under challenging conditions."

The HSE confirmed today the testing of close contacts of a confirmed Covid-19 case will resume tomorrow.

The practice has been on hold since the end of last year due to pressure on the system.

Since then, close contacts have received a text alerting them of their status with advice to stay at home.

HSE chief executive Paul Reid says testing can now be re-instated due to the recent drop in cases.

"As and from tomorrow, January 29, the programme will reinstate its calling of close contacts and scheduling of appointments.

"From tomorrow, close contacts of a confirmed case will be referred to a Covid-19 test centre for a test on day five."

This morning, Mr Donnelly told the Dáil the vaccination programme is likely to miss its target of inoculating 700,000 people by the end of March.

He said the “indicative target” was heavily caveated and dependant on vaccine supplies from AstraZeneca.

Mr Donnelly said it is “very frustrating” that AstraZeneca may not be delivering the full amount anticipated by Government.

As part of the deal with the pharmaceuticals giant, Ireland was due to receive 600,000 coronavirus vaccines in the coming weeks.

However, Mr Donnelly said negotiations are underway to establish what the new supply chain will include.

The interruption to supply will likely affect the domestic vaccine rollout and the Government’s targets for the months ahead.

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