Mr Donnelly said 40,000 doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine are expected to be administered by the end of this week to frontline healthcare workers and nursing home staff and residents, adding: “The plan is on target”.
The roll-out will be ramped up over the coming weeks in residential care facilities, seeing all staff and residents receiving their first dose of the vaccine in the next two weeks.
In a statement released by the Department of Health, Mr Donnelly said: “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.”
A brief update on our accelerated vaccine plan, which will see all nursing home residents and staff receive the vaccine within 16 days. This is on top of frontline healthcare staff. pic.twitter.com/GoheniiEuV
— Stephen Donnelly (@DonnellyStephen) January 8, 2021
The Minister added that 65 vaccination teams will be mobilised, with vaccine doses being administered seven days a week.
Mr Donnelly said the vaccinator teams would be using some of the State’s “one week buffer” supply as the Department has received “solid reassurance from Pfizer” that the constant supply of vaccines being received at the moment will be maintained.
“Speed is of the essence and this is especially true for the most vulnerable people in our society,” Mr Donnelly said.
Earlier today, the European Commission said it has doubled its initial order of the Pfizer vaccine, giving the EU access to 300 million additional doses.
Mr Donnelly welcomed the news but said no decisions had yet been made regarding Ireland’s allocation of the additional doses.