The Irish government on December 24 authorised the use of the Pfizer-BioNTech coronavirus vaccine, Health Minister Stephen Donnelly announced on Friday. While taking to Twitter, Donnelly informed that the first delivery of the vaccine will be on December 26 and the vaccination programme will begin from December 30. The authorisation of the vaccine comes after the Republic of Ireland returned to stricter COVID-19 restrictions on Christmas eve until January 12. 

Currently, there have been over 2,190 COVID-19 related deaths in Ireland, and a total of 83,073 confirmed cases. Chief Medical Officer Dr Tony Holohan had also warned that the country now has the fastest growing incidence rate in the European Union. In a bid to curb the spread of the deadly virus, the Irish government introduced stricter measures, including the closure of non-essential retail. 

Under the new measures, restaurants and gastro pubs must close dinning from Christmas Eve and are only permitted to offer takeaway or delivery services. Further, hairdressers, nail bars, cinemas, galleries and museums must also close. The chief medical officer has said that the, unfortunately, none of the indicators of the disease are showing encouraging signs, therefore, the National Public Health Emergency Team (NPHET) recommended stricter measures amid warning over the increase in COVID-19 cases.