Health Minister says vaccine programme is 'the way out of the pandemic'

Health Minister says vaccine programme is 'the way out of the pandemic'

HEALTH MINISTER Stephen Donnelly has urged people to continue to get vaccinated, saying it is the way out of the pandemic.

Almost three-quarters of the population have had at least one dose of the vaccine as the country prepares for an easing of restrictions on Monday.

With at least one walk-in centre open in every county this weekend, Minister Donnelly wants as many people as possible to get vaccinated.

Third doses for vulnerable

"We're on our way to hitting around 7,000,000 doses administered and that really is amazing," he said.

"Thanks to all of you who came forward for vaccinations and continue to do so.

"Thanks to the amazing teams who have been doing this all over the country."

He added: "The vaccine programme has been our way out of this pandemic and it allows us to remove the restrictions in the coming weeks as we continue to work to get as many people fully vaccinated as possible."

He added that following recommendations from the National Immunisation Advisory Committee, there will soon be no limit to when a pregnant woman can get vaccinated, while third doses will be offered to those who are immunocompromised.

More than 3,400,000 people have been fully vaccinated, which includes 87.8 per cent of people over the age of 16.

Restrictions to be eased

Meanwhile, figures today from the Department of Health show that another 1,703 cases of Covid-19 have been confirmed, up from 1,414 cases 24 hours earlier.

There are currently 363 Covid-19 patients in hospital, of which 52 are in intensive care.

However, Tánaiste Leo Vardkar has claimed cases have plateaued and the rise in hospital admissions is slowing.

Tweeting last night, he added: "All ok for next stage of re-opening on Monday."

Meanwhile in Northern Ireland, figures released today show that a further 1,812 positive cases and seven deaths have been reported in the past 24 hours.