Both the HSE and the National Public Health Emergency Team have held press briefings on a day when the one millionth dose of a Covid-19 vaccine was administered here.

Here are five things we learned from the two briefings.


Millionth Covid-19 dose administered

At the end of the HSE briefing at Dr Steevens' Hospital, the organisation's Chief Executive informed assembled journalists that the one millionth Covid-19 vaccine has been administered.

Earlier in the briefing, Paul Reid said that 180,000 to 190,000 vaccine doses should be administered next week, but said it most likely closer to the end of the month, or early May, before 250,000 doses a week are administered.

Such a figure is necessary to meet the goal of an average of one million doses a month administered in April, May and June, as set out by Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly yesterday.


HPRA investigating case of 'special interest'

The Health Products Regulatory Authority has confirmed that it has received a "case of interest" associated with the AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine, which describes an unusual blood clot in the brain.

Speaking at the NPHET briefing, HRPA Chief Executive Dr Lorraine Nolan said the individual in question is making a recovery. 

She said the case will "receive utmost priority".

In a statement the HRPA said the "report will be notified to the EU's safety database and will be considered in the context of continuous monitoring coordinated by the EMA."


'Welcome decreases' but progress uncertain

Professor Philip Nolan, Chair of the NPHET Irish Epidemiological Modelling Advisory Group, outlined the overall situation regarding Covid-19 at the outset of the NPHET briefing.

He said the overall epidemiological situation is stable, and may be improving, but this is uncertain due to the impact of the long Easter weekend on some indicators of the disease.

Professor Nolan said there have been "welcome decreases" in the 14-day incidence rate, as well as the number of people being treated in hospital and ICU, and the number of people being admitted each day.

He said that on average there are just over 250 people with Covid-19 in hospital over last seven days.


'Amazing' that close contacts have not increased

The Deputy Chief Medical Officer told the NPHET briefing that the level of close contacts per positive case of Covid-19 has not increased since late February.

Dr Ronan Glynn described this as "amazing", saying it shows that despite some high-profile events the vast majority of people are continuing to adhere to restrictions.

Prof Nolan also said that the vast majority of the population are continuing to work "very hard" to keep their close contacts down.

He also said the reproduction number at present is estimated to be "very close to or just below 1", saying it could be as low as 0.7.


'Never, ever' want to lock down again

Towards the end of the NPHET briefing, Dr Glynn said they are "weeks away" from having the population vaccinated, and they do not want to go backwards in that period.

He said he "never, ever" wants to recommend measures to the Government again to close things down, but cautioned that for that to be the case, the reopening must continue to be gradual.

Dr Glynn said outdoor dining needs to happen as soon as possible, but they are not there yet.

"It's our job to be conservative, there are many other sectors of society whose job is to hold their hands up and shout for what they believe is right for their sector, and I fully understand that they have entirely different motive and entirely different voice that they have to amplify, but our job is to protect public health," the Deputy CMO said.

He said he fully appreciates that this is "unbelievably frustrating" and causes anger.

He said that while he cannot begin to understand the impact that this has had on employers and businesses that have been ruined by this, their businesses have been ruined by the pandemic.

"Their businesses have not been ruined by the likes of us trying to protect public health," he said. "Not everyone will agree with that, but that's obviously our view."