Ireland authorizes Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine; inoculation will begin on December 30th

The Irish government on December 24 authorized the use of the Pfizer-BioNTech coronavirus vaccine, Health Minister Stephen Donnelly announced Friday. While writing on Twitter, Donnelly reported that the first vaccine delivery will be on December 26 and the vaccination schedule will begin on December 30. The vaccine clearance comes after the Republic of Ireland reverted to stricter COVID-19 restrictions on Christmas Eve. until 12 January.

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Currently, there have been over 2,190 COVID-19 related deaths in Ireland and a total of 83,073 confirmed cases. Chief Medical Officer Dr Tony Holohan had also warned that the country now has the fastest growing incidence rate in the European Union. In an effort to curb the spread of the deadly virus, the Irish government has introduced tougher measures, including shutting down non-essential retail trade.

Under the new measures, restaurants and gastro pubs have to close their meals from Christmas Eve and can only offer take-out or delivery services. In addition, hairdressers, nail bars, cinemas, galleries and museums must also close. The chief medical officer said that, unfortunately, none of the disease indicators are showing encouraging signs, so the National Public Health Emergency Team (NPHET) has recommended stricter measures amid a warning about the increase in COVID-19 cases.

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New COVID-19 restrictions

According to the new measures, from 20.00 to 6.00 there can be no indoor or outdoor gatherings of any kind. This includes the absence of house mixing in private gardens, the health ministry informed. He added that all essential retail stores must close between 8pm and 6am. Different families have been forbidden to mix in private homes.

Only six people from no more than two families could meet in a family’s private garden with the 6 foot distance rule respected. “It is possible to form a bubble of two families limited to a maximum of 10 people,” the Irish government informed. This can only include children at any one time. “If someone inside your bubble develops symptoms, all members of the bubble should self-isolate,” the ministry explained in a council. In addition, face masks have been made mandatory on all means of public transport, taxis, private buses, coaches and airplanes, in train and bus stations and inside airports.

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