Half a million doses of COVID-19 vaccine administered in Ireland: PM

Irish Prime Minister Micheal Martin on Saturday announced that half a million doses of COVID-19 vaccine had been administered in the country, which roughly accounts for one-tenth of Ireland’s total population.

Announcing the news on his Twitter account, Martin said that he had just been informed by the Health Service Executive, a top government body responsible for public health service in Ireland, that the country has passed the half-a-million mark of the number of doses of COVID-19 vaccine administered.

“Good news. The vaccines are having a significant impact on mortality and serious illness,” he tweeted. “The number of COVID patients in hospitals and ICU is reducing all the time.”

Statistics from the Irish Department of Health showed that the COVID-19 pandemic has been developing in a generally downward trajectory over the last few weeks thanks to the strict COVID-19 restrictive measures adopted by the government as well as the rollout of vaccination in the country.

Late last month, the Irish government decided to extend the current Level-5, or the highest-level restrictions, from March 5 till April 5 in order to further press down the number of infections in the country.

Under the Level-5 restrictions, people in the country are only allowed to move within 5 km from home if not for essential reasons and all the non-essential retail outlets and most indoor facilities are ordered to be closed.

Ireland started to vaccinate its population about two months ago. It plans to have over four million people, or more than 80 percent of its total population, vaccinated by the end of September.

As the world is struggling to contain the pandemic, vaccination is underway in an increasing number of countries with the already-authorized coronavirus vaccines.

Meanwhile, 261 candidate vaccines are still being developed worldwide — 79 of them in clinical trials — in countries including Germany, China, Russia, Britain, and the United States, according to information released by the World Health Organization on March 5.

The Irish Department of Health on Saturday reported another 539 confirmed COVID-19 cases in Ireland, in addition to 14 new deaths related to the virus.

To date, a total of 222,699 people in Ireland have contracted the COVID-19 virus and 4,419 of them have died from the disease, said the department in a statement.