IRELAND'S Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly has predicted that everyone over the age of 70 in the country will receive the first dose of a Covid-19 vaccine before the end of March.
Addressing reporters on Tuesday following the first delivery of Moderna vaccines into the country, Minister Donnelly said that everyone who lives and works in a nursing home should be getting vaccinated over the next 10 days or so.
He also said that around half of Ireland's 150,000 healthcare workers are expected to have been vaccinated by then too.
The country is now aiming to administer 50,000 Covid-19 vaccinations a week - a target that's now more achievable thanks to the arrival of Moderna's batch.
Meanwhile, AstraZeneca has submitted a formal application to the European Medicines Agency (EMA) for a approval and a decision on whether the EU will give it the green light will be made before the end of the month.
Earlier this week, Minister Donnelly admitted that the government's targets was to vaccinate 700,000 people by the end of March, which would cover the first three priority groups, and the latest vaccine deal could be the difference maker.
"AstraZeneca is the game changer," Donnelly said.
"It's a two dose regimen so that would be about 300,000 people ... when you add Pfizer and Moderna to our planning ... we'd have a little less than 1.4 million doses in the country by the end of March in about 11 weeks' time and that would vaccinate around 700,000 people."