Health Service Executive CEO Paul Reid has revealed that vaccines "are now protecting the most vulnerable" in nursing homes.

"In the latest cycle of testing, of over 16,100 tests, the positivity rate is now at 0.07%. This is the lowest rate since we began serial testing [in nursing homes] last year," he said on Twitter.

Mr Reid added: "Really good news on how the vaccines are protecting the most vulnerable in nursing homes."

Earlier, the HSE's Chief Clinical Officer said data showing that only 0.1% of Covid-19 cases come from outdoor transmission is "misleading" in terms of the numbers as it only relates to recorded outbreaks. 

Dr Colm Henry said other scenarios in which people might have acquired the virus are not taken into account in the figures from the Health Protection Surveillance Centre. 

He said it does not include all the activities that are associated with outdoor activities such as changing rooms or travelling to and from activities.

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The data, reported in the Irish Times yesterday, shows that just one confirmed case of Covid-19 in every thousand is traced to outdoor transmission.

It comes as nine further Covid-related deaths and 443 new cases of the disease were notified to the Department of Health today.

Speaking on RTÉ's News at One Dr Colm Henry said: "The message that does come across from this data is that in the purest sense, when people adhere to social distancing and other Covid measures, outdoor transmission is 19/20 times less likely that indoor transmission." 

However, he said the data is "misleading in terms of the number because it pertains to outbreaks in outdoor settings, it doesn't really include all the other scenarios where people might acquire Covid when they congregate in any activity associated" with outdoor gatherings.

Dr Henry added: "We can't drop our guard at anytime."

HSE will have to hire more vaccinators - Donnelly

The Minister for Health said the HSE is confident that it has "more than enough vaccinators" to administer Covid-19 vaccines through April and May.

Speaking on RTÉ's Prime Time, Stephen Donnelly said that in excess of 1,100 vaccinators had been trained.

He said the number that would be needed "week by week and month by month" in vaccination centres around the country was discussed at a task force meeting today.

Mr Donnelly said there are currently over 500 vaccinators in place and over 800 who can be deployed, and for the coming weeks just a fraction of them are needed - around 200 to 300 a week.

However, he said the HSE will have to continue hiring vaccinators.

In relation to expected vaccine deliveries Mr Donnelly said: "We have been doing our very best" to give these figures.

"To the end of March we were saying we were hoping to get around 1.2m delivered, we got about that in the end ... 1.187m I think it what was delivered."

"We've been saying for April, May and June we expect to do an average of around 1m a month, so its a bit less than one million in April, a bit more than a million in May and its a good bit more in June." Mr Donnelly added.

The HSE said that it will have administered one million Covid-19 vaccine doses this week.

The vaccination of people aged 70 and older is continuing and more than 42,000 people at very high risk have been given a jab.

Towards the end of April, the campaign will move to vaccinate people aged 65 to 69.

Meanwhile seven pop-up testing centres have been in operation in Finglas, Crumlin, Balbriggan, Navan, Naas, Athlone and Ballinasloe.

The highest positivity levels have been seen in those aged 15-24 years where the positivity level 4.46%.