Paul O'Donoghue
Paul O'Donoghue

14.33 9 Apr 2021


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The weekly number of COVID-19 vaccines administered in Ireland has jumped by 55%.

Figures from the HSE show just under 133,000 vaccine doses were given out in the last week of March.

This compared to 86,000 in the final week of February.

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DCU professor of health systems Anthony Staines says supply has been the main issue with the rollout so far, but he’s optimistic this will improve soon.

He said: “They need to roughly double the number of vaccines they’re giving a day. I’m confident they’ll do that.

"The number of vaccines being delivered will almost certainly rise sharply over the next week or two.”

Just under 1.2 million vaccine doses were delivered to Ireland to the end of March. Of this amount, 865,460 had been administered at the end of the month.

This was well below what had been hoped for. Taoiseach Micheál Martin said on 23 February that Ireland would have 1.25 million doses administered by March.

The Government has said this was due almost entirely to problems with vaccine supply, as companies like AstraZeneca did not fulfil their delivery promises.

It was confirmed yesterday that the one-millionth dose has now been administered here.

Vaccine supply

Officials hold back a portion of delivered vaccines for second doses, and the HSE has said it administers 95% of jabs within seven days of their arrival in Ireland.

Newstalk asked how this figure of 95% is calculated. While there was not a response at the time of publication, it likely looks at the number of vaccines given out versus delivery, without including those held back for second doses.

The vaccine programme is expected to progress significantly in the coming months - the Department of Health said on Wednesday Ireland could receive 3.9 million doses by the end of March, although it cautioned this is dependent on vaccine manufacturers meeting their delivery promises.

Health minister Stephen Donnelly has said he expects 250,000 doses will be administered every week by the end of the month.

As of today, Ireland had given a first vaccine dose to 18.8% of the adult population, while 7.7% had got two jabs. This compares to EU averages of 16.3% and 6.8% respectively.

Trinity College immunology professor Kingston Mills says Ireland compares well to other EU nations.

He said: “It is frustratingly small compared to what the UK is doing, but it’s all down to supply. I think we’re doing as well, if not better, than a lot of European countries.

“All the constraints are around vaccine supply. We would have immunised a lot more people if we had a lot more vaccine, but we don’t.

"With the amount of vaccine we’ve had available, Ireland has got it into people pretty quickly.”

Main image: File photo of doctors working at the Vaccination center in the Helix in Dublin. Photograph: Sam Boal / RollingNews.ie

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