The Taoiseach, Micheál Martin, has admitted satisfying the target of issuing 1.25 million Covid-19 vaccine dosages by the end of March is proving “extremely difficult” as the Federal government thinks about a push for a better system of sharing unused vaccines in the EU.
According to sources with understanding of the scenario, Ireland will become part of a group of member states most likely to compose to the European Commission next week, arguing for a formalised redistribution system to begin when a surplus of vaccines builds up in a member state.
Together With Ireland, Denmark, Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia are most likely to be signatories to the letter, to be signed by Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly, sources stated. The nations will likely argue that such a technique would cultivate uniformity, and would be specifically relevant where there is a danger of vaccines going out of date.
Regardless of the push for a formalised system to rearrange extra vaccines, Federal government figures dismissed the suggestion that there may be any immediate dividend for the State’s supplies.
Senior sources stated that contact had actually been made with many countries and companies already, to no avail so far. Speaking in Galway, Mr Martin said that Germany had “made it extremely clear to us that they’ll be utilizing all [their] vaccines”.
‘ Vaccine markets’
” We made those queries and they’re extremely clear,” he stated. Efforts to protect additional vaccines through so-called “vaccine fetes”, where European countries offer up extra doses, have actually had restricted success. The Department of Health validated Ireland asked for 2 million dosages through this channel, however got only 138,000 Such channels are now little used as a lot of nations are taking their full allocations.
A Federal government spokesperson said that shipment dates from AstraZeneca have actually moved 3 times because Mr Martin set the target, and 23 times in overall.
There is significant and ongoing concern in Government over the dependability of deliveries from AstraZeneca. Delivery figures for February were less than half of that prepared for in the Federal government’s prepare for managing the pandemic.
The plan anticipate some 190,675 dosages by the end of February, however most current figures show just 86,400 were in fact delivered, 104,275 less doses than prepared.
Ireland has actually up until now administered 8.8 dosages per 100 individuals, putting us mid-table in the EU.
It is expected that the State will have shortly administered half a million doses, but figures distributed to Ministers suggest that just about 84,000 doses will be provided in the week beginning March 8th.
Kildare North TD James Lawless sent out a memo to the Taoiseach on Friday, calling on him to work out any spare dosages with the UK, as well as to get Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine in location ahead of European Medicines Firm approval. He also said consideration needs to be provided to “going beyond the [EU] bloc procurement” and likewise examining whether Russia can provide dosages of its Sputnik V vaccine “in an useful timescale”.
He said it was imperative to “offer light at the end of the tunnel” to keep public self-confidence and buy-in for continuous restrictions.
David Cullinane, the Sinn Féin health representative, stated that “it is necessary that targets set are targets met”, and called on Mr Donnelly to be “more hands-on, proactive and defend Irish interests”.
A spokesperson for Mr Donnelly said “the reality with AstraZeneca is that materials have not been available in as anticipated and this is showing to be difficult. At this point we can’t state what the out-turn will be for the month, but whatever we receive, we will administer.”