State to buy one million Covid vaccines from Romania

ireland
State To Buy One Million Covid Vaccines From Romania
Romania has had one of the lowest uptakes of the vaccines in Europe, leading to excess supplies
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Ireland has agreed a deal in principle to purchase one million unwanted Covid-19 vaccines from Romania.

Taoiseach Micheál Martin spoke with his Romanian counterpart, president Klaus Ionhannis, on Friday morning and a deal was agreed, but is yet to be finalised.

Romania has had one of the lowest uptakes of the vaccines in Europe, leading to excess supplies.

The deal will provide a further boost for the Republic’s vaccination rollout, following an earlier announcement that it will be accelerated for people aged 18 to 34.

A spokesman for the Taoiseach said: “This process is continuing and is yet to be completed. He will continue to work with his government colleagues to expedite the vaccine programme.

“This includes discussions with the European Commission and with member states, particularly those who may have potential surpluses.

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“Ensuring that as many people as possible can get vaccinated as quickly as possible remains the best way to combat Covid-19, particularly given the rapid rise of the Delta variant.”

The Irish Examiner reports that Mr Martin approached all EU member states about purchasing unwanted or unused vaccine supplies in order to increase supply in the State.

The shipment is expected to be made up of around 700,000 Pfizer and 300,000 Moderna vaccines, with the logistics yet to be worked out.

Rollout speeds up

Earlier it was announced that people aged 18 to 34 could receive a Covid vaccine up to two months early under an accelerated programme announced by the Minister for Health, Stephen Donnelly.

It follows updated advice from the National Immunisation Advisory Committee (Niac) that the AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson (also known as Janssen) vaccines can be given to people under 40.

People aged 18 to 34 can now “opt in” for one of those jabs, or choose to wait for an mRNA vaccine such as Pfizer or Moderna.

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The opt-in system will run in parallel with the online registration portal, which will open for the 30 to 34-year-old age cohort next Friday.

Mr Donnelly said the estimate for people aged 25 to 29 to get their first dose, should they wait for mRNA, would be early August, with people aged 18 to 24 waiting until mid-August.

That means it would be early to mid-September before they get their second dose and are fully vaccinated.

The accelerated rollout is take to place in pharmacies and vaccination centres across the country.

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