THERE'S been an 80% drop off in Covid-19 case numbers identified in Irish nursing homes over the past two weeks, as the vaccination rollout begins to take effect.
There are now just 91 Covid-19 cases evident in nursing homes across the country, down from 482 cases earlier this month.
The dip in figures demonstrates the sheer effectiveness of the jabs, which have been administered to both care home residents as well as the frontline healthcare staff looking after them.
There are now hopes that the ban on nursing-home visits could be lifted in the next week or two.
HSE chief clinical officer Dr Colm Henry said health experts are working on revising the visiting policy in nursing homes, and said he hopes visits can resume within the next fortnight.
"We are just coming out of a serious surge in cases and the timing of this is important," he said.
"But what we want to do is restore some kind of visiting in a safe, incremental way, to provide some relief to residents but not in a way that puts either the vaccination programme under threat or the health of the residents.
"But I expect we're going to see some change in the next week or two," he added.
The drop in nursing home infections follows the news that case numbers among hospital staff has also plummeted this month.
Figures peaked in early January at around 1,000 cases, but the total has now dropped to just 50 as of this week.
Such positive news brings confidence that the vaccine rollout is working, and fresh hope to the nation that we might be able to exit lockdown sooner rather than later.