MICHEAL MARTIN has angered some sections of the Irish public after claiming Ireland’s milestone of reaching 500,000 vaccinations against Covid-19 is “good news”.
The HSE have confirmed that over 500,000 people across the country have now received at least one jab against the potentially lethal coronavirus.
However, that figure still pales in comparison with the United Kingdom where, just under a week ago, it was announced that more than 20 million people had received at least one vaccine dose.
More than 500,000 people have also been vaccinated against the virus in Northern Ireland, where that particular milestone was reached over a week ago.
A delay in AstraZeneca vaccine supplies, coupled with the EU’s initial recommendation that the Oxford University-developed jab not be given to anyone over the age of 66 has been blamed, in part, for the slow rollout in Ireland.
But that has not stopped many across Ireland from voicing their frustrations after the Taoiseach took to social media to celebrate the “good news” of half a million vaccinations.
Martin tweeted: “Just been informed by the HSE that we have passed the half a million mark of #CovidVaccine doses administered. Good news.
“The vaccines are having a significant impact on mortality and serious illness. The number of COVID patients in hospitals and ICU is reducing all the time.”
Just been informed by the HSE that we have passed the half a million mark of #CovidVaccine doses administered.
Good news. The vaccines are having a significant impact on mortality and serious illness.
The number of COVID patients in hospitals and ICU is reducing all the time.
— Micheál Martin (@MichealMartinTD) March 6, 2021
The Taoiseach’s comments infuriated many on social media.
One critic replied sarcastically: “Great news. Only 9,500,000 to go so...”
“No rush Only costing 1.3 billion a week.”
Another wrote: “The vaccination programme is slow, a disaster. I have NO idea when I will be vaccinated. Meanwhile, all my siblings in Northern Ireland have been vaccinated.
“Friends in UK and US being vaccinated, not one in Republic of Ireland. Enough PR guff!”
A third said: “500,000 is pathetic! People aged 56 and over are now able to book their COVID-19 jabs via the NHS website, with the UK's vaccine rollout continuing to rollout at pace. The government is aiming for all over 50s to have been offered their jab by May.”
Some were quick to highlight that Martin was still way off the vaccination targets he previously pledged.
“Only another 700,000 to be done by end of March to reach the 1.2m you promised,” one person wrote.
“So just 900,000 doses needed in 3 weeks to meet your schedule, assuming the above 500k is actually accurate,” another added.
Others were left thoroughly unimpressed responding with comments like “Half a million is not good enough” and “back to bed will you”.
There was, however, a small contingent urging the public to move on from the poor start made to the vaccination programme and focus on the positives.
“Never seen anything like the misery, negativity and defeatism about the vaccine rollout,” one wrote.
“We’re not doing that badly compared to other EU countries, but the way people are commenting one would think we’ve vaccinated no one.”