Monday , June 27 2022

Introduce a national priority issue vaccine



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The Taoiseach has told the Dáil that Pfizer / BioNTech sought market authorization for their Covid-19 vaccine yesterday from the European Medical Agency.

Micheál Martin said Emer Cooke, head of EMA, briefed EU health ministers this morning, including Health Minister Stephen Donnelly.

He said the vaccine would be assessed no later than December 29 and “maybe before then”.

Labor leader Alan Kelly reiterated calls for a “vaccine minister” to allow the Covid-19 vaccine task force to fulfill its duties as quickly as possible.

Mr Martin told Mr Kelly he had set up the task force and “will stay on top of this”.

“This is a matter of national priority that goes right to the top of the Government,” said the Taoiseach.

He said he was sure the Department of Health and HSE had a lot of experience and expertise.

Mr Martin said that there was a great deal of work to be done, but that this would be done.

With regard to the Pfizer / BioNTech vaccine, he said that infrastructure to store the vaccine at -70C was already being established in Ireland.

He said this equipment will be commissioned by the middle of next week.

The Taoiseach said the EMA was looking at “early January” in assessing market authorization for the Moderna vaccine.

Earlier, Mr Kelly said that due to a range of issues from logistics, procurement, storage and IT, “someone needs to be sitting at the Cabinet table permanently”, adding, “red tape or bureaucracy” can not be delaying issues.

Speaking on RTÉ’s Today with Claire Byrne, she said that decisions on vaccines will save lives, businesses, jobs and change society.

“We have to make sure we make the most of this and get it right,” he said.


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The introduction of any vaccine in Ireland will follow the approval of the EMA.

Yesterday, Cabinet approved an advance purchase agreement for 875,000 doses of the Covid-19 vaccine produced by Moderna.

It is expected that the doses will be delivered early in the new year, as soon as EMA approval is obtained.

Ireland has already signed four other vaccines.

Today the UK became the first country in the world to approve the Covid-19 vaccine after its Pfizer / BioNTech vaccine was approved for use by the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency.

The latest figures put the number of Covid-19 patients in this hospital at 228, an increase of four on yesterday.

Of these, 31 are in intensive care, no change on yesterday’s figures.

Mr Martin later said the Government was seeking legal advice on what additional measures could be taken to underpin the new Covid-19 testing regime for people traveling into Ireland from outside the State.

However, fellow Social Democrat leader Róisín Shortall has said that his reply to the Dáil “does not inspire confidence” because we are already in December.

He said Ireland is likely to experience a lot of travel from now on into the New Year.

Ms Shortall argued that it was “very late in the day” to be seeking legal advice at this time.

The Taoiseach replied that “additional measures will be taken at airports”, including spot checks to ensure that passengers have the specific documentation about undertaking Covid-19 tests.

Mr Martin added that Ireland had taken a “conservative approach” to travel.

He said that the numbers entering or traveling out of the State were expected to decline by more than 90%.



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