2,121 more cases of COVID-19, eight more deaths

Very few vaccine side-effects reported
  • Deborah Condon

A further 2,121 cases of COVID-19 have been reported, along with eight more deaths.

This brings the total number of cases here to 174,843 and the total number of deaths to 2,616.

Among the 2,121 cases, 753 occurred in Dublin, 236 in Cork, 142 in Wexford, 126 in Kildare and 109 in Limerick.

As of 2pm on Monday, there were 1,975 people in hospital with confirmed COVID-19, 200 of whom were in ICU. There had been 102 additional hospitalisations in the last 24 hours.

According to the Department of Health's chief medical officer, Dr Tony Holohan, this third wave of the pandemic has seen a higher level of hospitalisations across all age groups and there are now more sick people in hospital than at any other time in the course of the pandemic.

"The risk that this disease poses to the individual who is infected has not changed. What has changed is that we are experiencing a much greater level of community transmission and as a result we are seeing higher numbers of people with severe illness who require hospitalisation or admission to intensive care and higher numbers of mortality," he explained.

According to Dr Vida Hamilton, national clinical advisor and group lead of acute hospitals with the HSE, the country is now one week operating in critical surge capacity, "the first time we have had to rely on this during the pandemic".

"Our staff escalation plan is in operation and we are very grateful for the non-critical care staff who are supporting the delivery of these critical services. Patients across the health service are very sick. The message from your healthcare workers is to please stay at home and continue to interrupt the spread of COVID-19," she commented.

Meanwhile according to Dr Lorraine Nolan, CEO of the Health Products Regulatory Authority (HPRA), up to January 11, the HPRA had received a total of 81 reports of suspected side-effects associated with the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine. This equates to around 0.1%.

"All reports were generally consistent with those typically observed with other vaccines and included events of a mild to moderate nature, which resolved or were resolving at the time of reporting.

"Among those most frequently reported were abdominal pain, nausea, fatigue, joint pain and pains in the arms, some experience of dizziness, headache, itching and a rash - all consistent with the known and anticipated side-effects as emerged during the clinical trials," she noted.

She said that while the relatively mild effects described are uncomfortable for those who experience them, "they do pass quickly and generally do not require any medical treatment".

"Safety monitoring of all medicines, including vaccines, is central to the remit of the HPRA and we intend to publish a regular update of the number and nature of reports regarding suspected side-effects with COVID-19 vaccines, as the vaccination roll-out continues," she added.

More information on the latest figures in relation to COVID-19, including the number of people vaccinated so far, is available here.


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