The Republic of Ireland could start vaccinating vulnerable people against coronavirus early next year, deputy prime minister Leo Varadkar has said.
Mr Varadkar, who is a qualified doctor, said a COVID-19 inoculation could be approved in a couple of months.
He told RTE radio: “I’m increasingly optimistic, as is government, that we will see a vaccine approved in the next couple of months and that in the first half or first quarter of next year it’ll be possible to start vaccinating those most at risk.”
According to government figures, the Republic of Ireland had 1,025 cases and no deaths in the latest 24-hour period.
The total number of confirmed cases is 57,128, with 1,882 fatalities.
On Wednesday, the Irish Republic moved back to the highest level of lockdown, with Prime Minister Micheal Martin saying the country could celebrate Christmas “in a meaningful way” if the measures are taken seriously.