3.3 million doses of the Oxford-Astra Zeneca vaccine will arrive in Ireland when the European Medicines Agency gives its regulatory approval to the injection.
Every person in Ireland can have a Covid-19 vaccination by September, according to Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly.
Minister Donnelly told the Dáil today that “ultimately we’re planning our programme based on a supply of vaccines that would mean every citizen can be vaccinated by September, so that’s what we’re working to.”
“The timelines are indicative, but they hopefully will provide some reassurance and clarity for people, but I would just re-emphasise that even these timelines are based on assumptions for the future delivery of other vaccines, including at this point Astra Zeneca, which have yet to be approved.”
“The other vaccines have yet to…the companies haven’t even applied for approval yet, so these are tentative timelines, but I know people want some sense of where we are going and when people will get to be vaccinated.”
The minister told the Dáil that he expects to receive news from the EMA about the approval of the Astra Zeneca vaccine on January 29.
He said the government would be in a position to provide “more accurate vaccination timelines for all citizens” at that point.
“I know that’s something people are looking for, I hear that loud and clear, and I fully agree.”
The Oxford Astra Zeneca vaccine is reported to be more easily stored and only requires one shot, whilst the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines require two.
Ireland is expected to receive at least 200,000 doses of the Oxford Astra Zeneca vaccine each month after its initial approval.
“You don’t have to be a citizen, it’s for anybody who’s here,” Mr Donnelly said.
“We are on target. By Sunday we will have hit nearly half — 70,000 — of 150,000 frontline healthcare workers.”
“From Sunday, notwithstanding the outliers, the nursing homes will have been done,” he explained.
By last Sunday, 94,000 people had received the vaccine, but the minister remains concerned that some hospitals were not following the priority list of recipients developed by the National Immunisation Advisory Committee.
Mr Donnelly mentioned three hospitals – the Rotunda, the Coombe and Kerry — where prioritisation protocols of the vaccine had not been followed, adding: “You don’t need a protocol to know you do not vaccinate family members.”