Extra 10,000 will be vaccinated weekly with Moderna vaccine, says Varadkar

Extra 10,000 Will Be Vaccinated Weekly With Moderna Vaccine, Says Varadkar
Leo Varadkar said the vaccine would allow the country to increase the numbers vaccinated each week. Photo: PA.
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Ireland plans to vaccinate around 10,000 people per week with the Moderna vaccine, the Tánaiste said in a Twitter post on Wednesday after Europe's drug regulator gave the vaccine the green light.

Leo Varadkar said the authorisation of the vaccine would allow the country to increase the numbers vaccinated each week by the thousands.

The Government's current schedule is to vaccinate 135,000 people by the end of February with the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine, the only Covid-19 vaccine currently approved for use in the country.

Moderna Inc's Covid-19 vaccine was approved by the European Medicines Agency (EMA) for use in the European Union earlier on Wednesday.


"This vaccine provides us with another tool to overcome the current emergency," said Emer Cooke, EMA executive director.

The regulator has now given a conditional marketing approval for both the Moderna and the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccines, rather than the ultra-fast emergency use clearance issued by Britain, which the EMA says requires more detailed study of the data.

After the approval from the EMA, the final step is for the European Commission to give it the go-ahead, which is expected to follow later today.

The EMA has recommended the Moderna vaccine be given in two doses, 28 days apart, to people over the age of 18.

The EU has ordered 160 million doses of the shot — enough to vaccinate 80 million people in its 27 member states.

Irish doses

Under the EU agreement, Ireland is due to receive 880,000 doses of the Moderna shot, but it is not yet known when the first shipment will arrive, pending the approval of the Commission.

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After its approval on December 21st, the first doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine arrived in Ireland on St Stephen's Day, with the first shot being administered on December 29th.

Unlike the Pfizer vaccine, the Moderna jab does not need to be stored at ultra-low temperatures, and can instead be stored -20 degrees.

The vaccine was about 95 per cent effective at preventing illness in clinical trials, which found no serious safety issues.

The Dutch national drugs authority, the CBG, said the Moderna vaccine was expected to be effective against the variant of the coronavirus detected in Britain, but cautioned this had to be confirmed by further research.

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