The Government has contacted all EU member states offering to buy spare vaccine doses in a bid to rapidly accelerate the vaccine rollout amid fears over the Delta variant.
“A number of leads” have been identified after Taoiseach Micheál Martin asked his officials to get in touch with all member states in the past week, sources told The Irish Times.
One of those agreements will see Ireland buy one million vaccine doses from Romania.
Mr Martin held talks with the Romanian president, Klaus Iohannis, on Friday morning, and they agreed in principle to the purchase.
Romania has halted its importation of vaccines due to a slow uptake among its citizens, while the country recently sold over one million vaccines to Denmark.
“In principle we have reached an agreement that would supply us with a million mRNA vaccines and obviously there are logistical issues to be gone through but it is very good news,” Mr Martin said on Friday evening.
The Taoiseach also confirmed Cabinet had asked for a National Immunisation Advisory Committee (Niac) recommendation over whether or not children with underlying conditions should be vaccinated as soon as possible.
“I do understand it’s very worrying for the families, and it’s something I hope we can get advice back on quickly.”
He said various clinical trials” involving children and some vaccines had been conducted by the European Medicines Agency (EMA) and approved “in some respects”.
Mr Martin said he has concerns over the risks posed by Covid-19 to children with underlying medical conditions.
“Europe is preparing for the vaccination overall of children for next year. But for children with underlying conditions, it’s more immediate and urgent” he said.
He said Government would take advice on the subject, and follow the safest path.
“We have to take advice. Politicians on their own will not make decisions in this country in relation to vaccinations” he said.
“From a safety point of view, and a clinical safety point of view, we will take advice from the National Immunisation Advisory Committee and from the chief medical officer in that regard, that’s the safest thing to do.
“I think people need to bear that in mind, in the context of pandemic.
“Obviously, the concern is there for children with underlying conditions.
“I’m concerned about it, so we want to get we want to get this clarified and resolved as quickly as we can for the parents and the families involved.”
On the rollout of vaccines in pharmacies, Mr Martin said “operational issues” would be “dealt with” easily.