Taoiseach Micheál Martin has said that the rollout of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine will begin the week after its expected approval by the European Medicines Agency.
Today, there were 264 new Covid-19 cases reported by the Department of Health, as well as two further virus-related deaths. It brings the overall death toll to 2,126.
Here are five things we learned from this evening's briefing:
Vaccines won't be end to Covid-19 pandemic
The Chief Executive of the Health Products Regulatory Authority said that Covid-19 vaccines will not bring an end to the pandemic.
Dr Lorraine Nolan said that while vaccines are a "hugely positive development", it is one additional measure in the continued fight against the coronavirus.
"Other public health recommendations including hand washing, mask wearing and social distancing will continue to be vital to tackling this pandemic," she said.
HPRA Chief Executive says that Covid-19 vaccines will not bring an end to the pandemic. Lorraine Nolan says it is an additional measure in the continued fight against Covid-19 | https://t.co/fii0qbqKrh pic.twitter.com/l8leBCdzHu— RTÉ News (@rtenews) December 14, 2020
'No lowering of the bar' over vaccines
Dr Nolan stressed that even though the regulatory process around the vaccines were accelerated, there was no compromise in the scrutiny of them.
"There will be no lowering of the bar on this," she said.
On Covid-19 vaccines HPRA CEO, Lorraine Nolan says: "While we have accelerated the regulatory process... this will not compromise the detailed and thorough nature of scientific scrutiny. There will be no lowering of the bar on this" | https://t.co/o3eukkValR pic.twitter.com/pvmJgdGtJS— RTÉ News (@rtenews) December 14, 2020
She said that many factors have come together to increase the pace of the development of Covid-19 vaccines.
Dr Nolan said concerns that people have about the speed at which the vaccine has been developed is understandable.
She said there may be the impressions that because of this standards have been dropped, but that is "absolutely not the case".
HPRA's Lorraine Nolan says concern over the speed of the development of the vaccine is understandable. She says there may be impressions that because of this standards have been dropped but that is "absolutely not the case" | https://t.co/fii0qbqKrh pic.twitter.com/f0FVqyFXlz— RTÉ News (@rtenews) December 14, 2020
Slight increase in five-day average of coronavirus
The Chief Medical Officer told the briefing that there has been a slight increase in the five-day average of the virus.
Dr Tony Holohan said that despite the drop in the number of new virus cases since yesterday, there is still a change in the pattern of the virus and that we are in an "increasing situation".
"We think we are beginning to see a change in the pattern of transmission of the virus," he said.
Dr Holohan said that the basic message to people was to plan ahead for the Christmas period, and limit social interactions as much as they can now.
When asked about the drop in the number of new Covid cases reported today compared to yesterday, @CMOIreland says the five-day average has increased slightly. "We think we are beginning to see a change in the pattern of transmission of the virus." | https://t.co/fii0qbqKrh pic.twitter.com/wpeUC6guy3— RTÉ News (@rtenews) December 14, 2020
'Different counties have different challenges'
The Deputy Chief Medical Officer said that there is not any one factor to explain the rise in Covid-19 cases in some counties.
Dr Ronan Glynn said told the briefing that "different counties have different challenges" and they are still seeing outbreaks in workplaces, as well as across a range of different settings.
He said that the one factor that is common to all counties is people’s individual behaviour.
.@ronan_glynn says there isn't any one factor to explain the rise in Covid-19 cases in counties such as Donegal, Kilkenny, Limerick and Louth. He says that "different counties have different challenges" | https://t.co/fii0qbqKrh pic.twitter.com/10Td0S3wHe— RTÉ News (@rtenews) December 14, 2020
Santa is good to go on Christmas Eve
The children of Ireland should not worry if Santa will be safe as he takes off on his very important travels around the world on Christmas Eve.
Dr Tony Holohan assured that because of Covid-19, Santa is planning ahead to make sure that this Christmas is as safe as possible.
"From our point of view, we know that he'll take all the necessary measures and it will be safe for Santa to come and visit the houses of the children who are good and those are doing their homework and are helping around the house and not fighting with their brothers and sisters," he said.