The head of the Health Service Executive (HSE) has said vaccine trends have seen positive cases 'hugely coming down' in healthcare workers.
As of February 27th, 435,895 doses of COVID-19 vaccine have been administered - including 141,345 people who received their second dose.
Paul Reid told The Hard Shoulder the HSE will be setting out ambitious targets on Thursday.
"We were targeting towards 100,000 - some of our AstraZeneca delivery is re-profiled over a couple of weeks, and that happens on a regular basis.
"But we'll be setting out on Thursday the outturn [sic] for that - but it will be a very significant step up.
"And what we've seen, based on supply that we've got, we've gone from just over 40,000 supply administered - gone from just over 80,000 supply administered.
"And certainly in the coming weeks, we do see that stepping up very significantly which is very positive.
"And the outcomes from what we're seeing from the vaccination process today would give everybody great encouragement, great hope.
"Reductions in the overall levels of our healthcare staff, our nursing homes residents, nursing home staff, positive cases hugely coming down, levels of transmission, levels of outbreaks, percentage of healthcare workers versus overall cases.
"It's all really strong in the trends we're seeing so far".
And he said the HSE would be hopeful of releasing some restrictions on nursing home visits "very soon", without giving specific details.
Waiting lists 'a very significant challenge'
Meanwhile, a new report has revealed the impact of the pandemic on patients with other illnesses.
The Irish Hospital Consultants Association (IHCA) estimates that a HSE plan means over 200,000 fewer patients hospital appointments this year in public hospitals.
Mr Reid said this is an issue they are very aware of.
"It's not just about community services... but also we do know we need to invest further capacity in our hospital services.
"We also know we need to put better ways of people experiencing our mental health services, our disability services - and indeed some of our children's health services.
"It is across a range of services we want to strengthen in the coming [sic], but in essence some of the changes we have put in place during COVID are ones we will keep for the future.
"And a much better way of people receiving those services, but not having to go to an emergency service department to receive those services".
He acknowledged that waiting lists are "a very significant challenge", but also said that €240m has been committed by Government to address those.
"We want to do things in a very different way... we have to look at new ways of working, new technology as well", he added.