MICHEAL MARTIN says he felt “fantastic” after receiving his first dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine and has called on the public to follow his example.
The Taoiseach issued the plea just after receiving his jab at the Health Service Executive (HSE) vaccination centre in Cork City Hall.
Martin received his vaccine just metres away from the office where he previously served as Lord Mayor of Cork back in 1992.
As part of his vaccination appointment, the Fianna Fáil leader was observed for 15 minutes to ensure he suffered no major side effects before heading off.
The 60-year-old hailed the impact of vaccines in helping turn the tide in the battle against the coronavirus pandemic though he stressed it was important that the public take up the offer of a free vaccine as soon as it is offered to them.
Martin was registered for his vaccination at Cork City Hall by his assistant Helen Fitzgerald.
He queced up for his jab along with the rest of the general public who were also invited to receive a vaccine with the majority aged over 60.
South Infirmary-Victoria University Hospital nurse Brenda Dillon administered the injection to the Taoiseach who received it with little fuss.
Afterwards, the Fianna Fail leader thanked Brenda and everyone involved in the vaccine rollout across Ireland for their continued efforts during this crucial time.
"I want to pay tribute to the team at City Hall and to all those working at vaccination centres across the country," he said.
"Brenda did a fantastic job of vaccinating yours truly and (it was) not a bother."
"I feel great - fantastic."
"I want to thank everyone in the HSE for their work because the situation is really moving with momentum now with the vaccination programme."
"This week hopefully we will see somewhere between 220,000 and 240,000 people vaccinated."
"We are looking at somewhere between 250,000 and 270,000 administered next week."
"Last Friday alone it looks like we achieved 50,000 vaccinations in one day."
Delighted to get my #CovidVaccine today from the fantastic @HSELive staff and volunteers at Cork City Hall
The vaccines are making a major difference, as we protect the most vulnerable and open up society! pic.twitter.com/30EccijGY4
— Micheál Martin (@MichealMartinTD) May 9, 2021
Martin declared Ireland the envy of Europe when it comes to high take-up rates for Covid-19 vaccines with many nations across the continent experiencing vaccine hesitancy during their respective rollouts.
He said: "These are high volumes of the vaccines being administered and the impact of all these vaccines has been very, very positive in terms of reduced death, severe illness and hospitalisations which were 116 this morning."
"There were 32 patients in intensive care which is the lowest since September."
"This represents very good progress on the vaccination front."
Martin opened the Cork City Hall vaccination hub last February.
Boasting 30 vaccinations booths as well as a special post-vaccination observation area, the centre has the capacity to administer 2,400 vaccinations per day, seven days a week.
One of several major vaccination hubs in the city, the centre was on target to administer 1,060 jabs over the course of Sunday, May 9.