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Ireland

Reopening boost as Covid vaccination milestone hit amid falling infection rates

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The Government’s reopening plan to lift all major Covid-19 restrictions by October 22nd has received a boost, as Ireland reached a “major milestone” in its Covid-19 vaccination rollout on Friday amid falling infection rates.

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Taoiseach Micheál Martin confirmed that 90 per cent of adults now fully vaccinated, adding that more than seven million vaccines will have been administered by the end of Friday.

It comes as the average rate of Covid-19 infection across Ireland has fallen by 14 per cent in the last two weeks, according to weekly figures from the Health Protection Surveillance Centre.

A fortnight ago the average incidence rate had climbed to 526.4 but has continued to fall, reaching 450.9 as of last Monday.

However, Ireland also continues to have the highest incidence rate of the disease in the EU, with data produced by the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) showing a 14-day incidence rate of 434 cases per 100,000 people.

On Friday, Mr Martin tweeted: “We’ve reached two major milestones in our vaccine rollout. 90% of adults over 18 are now fully vaccinated.

“And by the end of today, 7 million Covid vaccines will have been administered.”

The landmark was also welcomed by Health Service Executive (HSE) chief executive Paul Reid.

He said: “Brighter news. Progress on a range of areas related to Covid-19.

“Today 90 per cent of adults are fully vaccinated with 92.5 per cent partially.

“Hospitalisations are trending downwards. 329 in hospital, 54 in ICU.

“Overall testing positivity reducing but high volumes in schools still.”

Parents and their children queue in rain outside the Citywest vaccination centre in Dublin (Damien Storan/PA)

The Government’s roadmap to lift all major restrictions by October 22nd will be boosted by the high level of vaccine uptake.

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Tánaiste Leo Varadkar previously said that October 22nd is “dependent” on achieving the milestone of having 90 per cent of people fully vaccinated, as well as passing the peak of the Delta variant.

Ireland has one of the highest vaccine uptake rates in the European Union, coming second to Malta.

The programme has been hailed as remarkable by health officials.

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