Taoiseach welcomes timely increase in Pfizer jabs allocation by EU

Ireland is to receive 545,000 extra Pfizer vaccine doses under the EU deal announced by European Commission President Dr Ursula von der Leyen.

Taoiseach Micheál Martin today welcomed the news which could not have come at a more welcome time for the Irish government.

It had restricted use of the AstraZeneca vaccine, only to learn the Johnson & Johnson vaccine had encountered approval difficulties in the US leading to a pause in its European rollout was being paused – meaning significantly fewer vaccines for Ireland to use.

Critics of the Irish government’s vaccination roll-out have accused it of being in disarray especially after it was forced to pause its enforced quarantine programme for people arriving for a hugely expanded ‘red list’ including much of the EU and US.

Dr von der Leyen announced European Union countries will receive 50 million more Covid-19 vaccines produced by Pfizer and BioNTech in the second quarter of 2021.

The deliveries, which start this month, will take total supplies to the EU from Pfizer to 250 million doses in the second quarter of this year.

She confirmed the Commission is in talks with the two companies for a new contract for 1.8 billion doses to be delivered in 2022 and 2023, confirming a Reuters report last week.

Nurse Joan Love with AstraZeneca at the HSE Vaccination Centre in the Aviva Stadium in Dublin earlier this month. Ireland had restricted use of the A-Z vaccine following concerns about blood clot when it learned of restrictions on other vaccines because of health concerns. Photo: Leon Farrell/Photocall Ireland

The EU has already signed two contracts with Pfizer and BioNTech for a total of 600 million doses to be delivered this year.

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