THE IRISH Government is in talks to secure an early delivery of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine.
Work on the vaccine has been led by Professor Adrian Hill, an Irish vaccinologist and the director of the Jenner Institute, which designs and develops vaccines for infectious diseases.
According to Ireland’s Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly, the Government is trying to secure an advanced shipment of the vaccine.
This would allow them to begin inoculations as soon as the EU approves the vaccine.
The UK has already given the green light to use of the vaccine, which could prove to be a game-changer for Ireland’s ongoing vaccination plans.
The AstraZeneca vaccine can be kept at normal fridge temperature unlike the Pfizer-BioNTech jab that has to be kept at -70.
That means it is much easier to store and distribute, thus allowing for much more widespread inoculation of the general public.
Any agreement struck could allow for the distribution of the AstraZeneca vaccine from the start of February with the European Medicines Agency set to meet at the end of the month to consider authorising it for use across member states.
Donnelly said: “What I would like to see if it's possible, is that we get the AstraZeneca vaccine into Ireland and ideally into all of the GP surgeries, into all of the pharmacies, so that the moment the EMA and the European Commission authorise it I then have to sign a statutory instrument that authorises use in Ireland and we get vaccinated straight away.”
Under the EU agreement, Ireland is set to gain access to 3.3 million doses.