The first delivery of the Moderna Covid-19 vaccine arrived in Ireland this afternoon.

Moderna started its deliveries to EU and EEA member States yesterday. Ireland has pre-ordered 875,000 doses of the vaccine.

On Twitter this evening, Health Minister Stephen Donnelly welcomed the Moderna delivery. 

Mr Donnelly said that the first delivery was a small one, but that "every vaccine counts".

Minister Donnelly also said this evening that almost 40,000 doses of the Covid-19 vaccine have now been administered.

He said, "we continue to accelerate the vaccines to the priority groups. We are focusing now on nursing home residents and staff and frontline health care workers".

It comes as a General Practitioner based in Drogheda said she is among a number of GPs who are concerned about their position in, and the slow pace of the rollout of, the Covid-19 vaccination programme. 

Dr Amy Morgan said she is aware of some GPs in the country who have been vaccinated due to "arrangements with local hospital groups", but she said, "this is not available to everyone".

Speaking on RTÉ's News at One, Dr Morgan said the issues requires HSE input to organise the vaccination of GPs.

She said she fully supports the prioritisation of vaccines for hospital colleagues and the most vulnerable, but she said she is concern over a "lack of planning leading to ad hoc arrangements." 

Dr Morgan said GPs, along with nurse staff in general practices, are willing to be part of the mass vaccination rollout but she said "for us to be safe vaccinators we have to be vaccinated ourselves."

She added that her surgery has no understanding of when she and her practice colleagues will get the jab.  

Dr Morgan was speaking after the Minister for Health said yesterday that it is hoped that 700,000 people will be vaccinated here by the end of March.

Mr Donnelly said that that number includes people in long-term residential care facilities, frontline healthcare workers and people aged over 70 and come "close to covering the first three cohorts of people who are the highest priority." 

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Meanwhile, a consultant in infectious diseases has said he would only defer vaccinations for people who have had Covid-19 and are symptom free for four weeks. 

Speaking on RTÉ's Today with Claire Byrne, Professor Sam McConkey said recent data shows that the vaccine "works better than natural protection of having had the virus". 

"There is really good data that we know the vaccine protects people to 90-95% but we don't have that data that natural infection protects you to that level." 

Prof McConkey said this current surge in Covid-19 cases is different to the first, in that it is "bigger and has grown quicker." 

"It has shocked all of us in terms of how many people are coming to hospitals."

He said the rapid reprofiling of healthcare workers in other specialties to Covid care is crucial to ensuring that Covid patients can be cared for. 

Prof McConkey also commended that European Medicines Agency for the pace and the thorough assessment of the Oxford AstraZeneca vaccine. 

He said the complete dossier of evidence needed for a full review was only received by the EMA this week. 

"They are not doing a quick and dirty review," he said. "They are doing a full review that they would do for any other vaccine like the flu vaccine for example, and any other medicine that has been used for the last 20-30 years."