IRELAND IS to donate 335,500 Covid-19 vaccines to Uganda to help the global fight against the pandemic.
The Minister for Health, Stephen Donnelly, and the Minister for International Development and Diaspora, Colm Brophy, yesterday announced that Ireland would be donating the huge number of jabs, along with the one million already committed through the Covax movement, a charity backed by actor Liam Neeson.
Along with the vaccines, the Department of Health confirmed Ireland is also donating "all of the consumables necessary to support the administration" of the hundreds of thousands of doses.
A statement from the government announces that the "substantial consignment... will ensure that vaccines reach the people who need them most and highlights Ireland’s solidarity with developing countries during this pandemic".
The major donation of 335,500 AstraZeneca vaccines is expected to be delivered as soon as next week.
Minister for Health, Stephen Donnelly, praised the HSE for facilitating the donation and said he was proud to show Ireland's continued commitment to helping the world tackle Covid-19.
"The donation represents the next step in Ireland’s continued commitment to vaccine solidarity. Universal and equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines is a priority for Ireland. This donation of vaccines builds on the recent government commitment to contribute 1 million COVID-19 vaccines to the COVAX global vaccine initiative.
"I wish to express my thanks to the HSE for the significant logistical planning to facilitate the delivery of these much needed doses to the people of Uganda."
Minister for International Development and Diaspora, Colm Brophy said he was "pleased that Ireland, through this donation of vaccines, is able to show solidarity with the people of Uganda, to help protect them from COVID-19".
"It’s only by acting together as a global community that we can each be safe from this awful virus. Reducing the impact of the pandemic will help protect hard won gains in the fight against poverty and inequality, gains in which Irish Aid has been proud to help achieve.
"That is why, in addition to the donation today, Ireland has also committed to share another 1 million vaccine doses in the coming months, with more next year. These donations will be through the global COVAX facility, so that they reach those who need them most. In addition and through the Irish Aid budget, I have committed €7million to COVAX this year, which will also help accelerate vaccination efforts in low and middle income countries."
Paul Reid, CEO of Ireland's Health Service Executive (HSE), also welcomed the vaccine donation to Uganda, saying the HSE was "privileged to play a part in the donation".