Nearly 4 million doses of vaccine administered while 443 additional cases are confirmed
Another 443 cases of Covid-19 have been confirmed in the state, the Ministry of Health announced on Saturday, as the number of vaccination doses administered approaches 4 million.
Some 43 people were hospitalized with the coronavirus on Saturday, including 13 in intensive care, the department said.
More than 40% of adults in the state have been fully vaccinated, according to Professor Brian MacCraith, chair of the Covid-19 Vaccination Task Force.
The number of doses administered exceeded 50,000 in each of the past four days, he said.
The Taoiseach Micheál Martin said on Saturday evening that 4 million doses of the Covid-19 vaccine were to have been administered on Sunday evening.
In a Twitter post, he praised “a wonderful national effort” from the HSE, the task force, health workers, volunteers “and all involved.”
Spectators returned to the horse races on Saturday, albeit in limited numbers, for the Dubai Duty Free Irish Derby Festival. In another pilot event to test the easing of pandemic restrictions, a concert featuring Christy Moore is taking place in Killarney, County Kerry.
In Northern Ireland, the first parkrun events since the start of the pandemic have taken place. The popular 5km run series has been allowed to return after the coronavirus regulations were relaxed to allow up to 500 people to gather for outdoor exercise.
Before the pandemic, around 30 parkrun events took place in Northern Ireland. While most return events began at 9:30 a.m. on Saturday, the Ormeau parkrun – one of the busiest in the area – did not take place for fear of attracting more than 500 authorized people.
On Saturday, 298 more cases of Covid-19 were reported in Northern Ireland.
Public health expert Kingston Mills said on Saturday that consideration should be given to allowing the more than 40% of the population who have been fully vaccinated to resume some aspect of normal life.
The professor of experimental immunology at Trinity College, Dublin, said Ireland should at least consider following the Israeli model which allows fully vaccinated people to visit restaurants, pubs, cinemas, gymnasiums and theaters and other indoor public spaces at an early stage of vaccine deployment there. .
He pointed out that Ireland now had around 40% of the fully vaccinated adult population and said that percentage “could safely fill many restaurants.”
Professor Mills said, however, that one problem could be that staff working in the hotel industry “tend to be younger, so they would be slightly at risk if not vaccinated.”
He said opening the country to fully vaccinated vaccines coupled with rapid targeted antigen testing could have benefits, but he stressed the need to get people who have received a dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine vaccinated quickly while also targeting them. younger cohorts with available vaccines. .
Speaking on the Brendan O’Connor show on RTÉ Radio 1, Prof Mills highlighted new international research that shows the vaccine mix works, with a first dose of AstraZeneca “primer”, then a Pfizer booster. monitoring that produces spectacular results.
Prof Mills noted that the vaccination program had contained the pandemic and severed the link between infection and hospitalization and said the key now was to prevent transmission of the virus, which he said would require immunize 18-24 year olds, where transmission rates are highest, as quickly as possible.
“At the moment, the problem is not with hospitalization, but with transmission among young people,” he said.
Professor Mills said young people should be offered the AstraZeneca or Johnson & Johnson vaccine. He noted that although there were serious incidents of coagulation related to the two vaccines among the younger cohorts, the numbers were “very low, one in a million.” [and] I think the benefits outweigh the risks.
Speaking to The Irish Times on Friday, Prof Mills said alternative AstraZeneca vaccines should not be limited to older cohorts: “There is little reason to limit them to those over 50 or over 60. years. If they want to use it, they should use it across the population.
Prof Mills expressed optimism that as long as certain rules are enforced, international travel across the EU could resume in mid-July.
He said Ireland “in hindsight should not have been so lax on travel from the UK” and noted that the UK had been too relaxed on travel from India to the UK. spring – which has allowed the Delta variant to take over the UK in recent weeks.
“There are still a number of cases coming in through travel, so we have to be careful,” he said, adding: “if travel is limited to those who have been vaccinated or cured or who have suffered the appropriate tests, then it is possible. The combination of vaccination and appropriate testing should allow safe international travel. “
Meanwhile, it has been announced that from Sunday residents of Northern Ireland will be able to receive their first dose without a prior appointment for the first time.
Northern Health Minister Robin Swann said vaccinations at the SSE Arena Belfast walk-in center will be allocated on a first-come, first-served basis, although people can still register online for a guaranteed appointment. – Additional PA reports