The Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly has signed the authorisation for the Moderna Covid-19 vaccine for distribution in Ireland.
The first doses of the Moderna shot arrived in the country yesterday, following its approval by the European Medicines Agency (EMA) and European Commission on January 6th.
Under the EU's agreement with the US drugmaker, Ireland will receive 880,00 doses of the Moderna vaccine.
The Moderna shot is the second vaccine to be approved for use in the European Union, while the AstraZeneca/Oxford jab is currently being considered by the EMA, with a decision expected before the end of the month.
Speaking at a meeting of European ministers earlier today, attended by members of the EMA, Mr Donnelly called for an acceleration of the timeline for the approval of the AstraZeneca vaccine.
Mr Donnelly also confirmed today that everyone over the age of 70 should have received their first dose of a Covid vaccine by the end of March.
The Minister said 700,000 people nationwide should be vaccinated within the next 11 weeks, including all long term care facility residents, covering nursing homes, mental health and disability facilities.
In the second quarter of the year, the Government is aiming to vaccinate an addition 1.5 million people.