Republic of Ireland completes deal to secure 700,000 Covid-19 vaccines from Romania
The Republic of Ireland has completed a deal to purchase 700,000 Covid-19 vaccines from Romania, the Taoiseach has announced.
It was announced in July that an agreement had been reached in principle for the purchase of one million mRNA vaccines from Romania, 700,000 Pfizer jabs and 300,000 Moderna.
Today’s announcement relates to the batch of Pfizer vaccines. The PA news agency understands that work is ongoing on purchasing the supply of Moderna vaccines.
The vaccine delivery is expected to arrive in Ireland in August, with Pfizer set to confirm the precise dates.
Micheál Martin tweeted: “We’ve completed a deal to secure an additional 700,000 Covid Vaccines from Romania/EU.
“Fantastic news and a welcome boost to our rollout, which continues to experience huge support and uptake from the Irish public.”
In a statement this afternoon, Mr Martin said: “As deliveries arrive this month, they will be used to meet the continued high uptake of our Covid vaccines.”
“These new Pfizer vaccines will ensure supply as we continue the next phases of the rollout over the summer and autumn months.
“I want to thank Romania and the EU for their assistance and show of solidarity to Ireland as we further protect our citizens in this pandemic.”
Health Minister Stephen Donnelly said: “Great news that we have secured an additional 700,000 vaccines from the EU through Romania.
“These will be delivered throughout August and will allow us to continue to ramp up the rollout of the vaccination programme. Well done to @roinnslainte (Department of Health) officials on finalising the deal.”
Last week, a Romanian government spokesman told the Irish Times that they planned to start delivering the shipments in the coming weeks.
He said the country was looking to unload the vaccines due to low take-up of the vaccine programme, and fears that the batch would go unused before its expiration date at the end of August.
The news comes after it was confirmed that more than 30,000 people were vaccinated at walk-in centres in Ireland over the bank holiday weekend.
Roughly 10,000 people a day were jabbed at the temporary centres as Ireland’s vaccination rollout continues at pace.
HSE chief executive Paul Reid said he was “beyond proud” of Ireland’s young people, who showed up in droves to get vaccinated.
He tweeted: “Over 30,000 people were administered a vaccination at our walk-in centres the weekend. Outstripping our expectations by far.
“All age groups went through but this initiative makes us beyond proud of younger people. When needed, they once again showed up in numbers.”
Although the centres were set up as a temporary measure for the bank holiday weekend, the HSE’s senior operations lead for the vaccination programme, Damien McCallion, has said they may be opened again.
He told Newstalk Breakfast today: “We’re still finalising some of the numbers coming through from some of the centres, but broadly speaking yesterday was our busiest day.
“And it was good to see over the weekend – even on Friday where we only had a small number of clinics in some of our other locations – the uptake in those areas was really, really good.
“So it’s certainly something we’ll look at again, we’ll evaluate it today.
“We’ll look at how it worked, we’ll take the feedback from the locations, we’ll also look at the people who are remaining.”
He said the centres had achieved their objective of attracting people who had not previously engaged with the vaccination programme.
Mr McCallion said: “One of the objectives of the walk-ins was to try and see whether we could attract people as well who, perhaps previously, hadn’t engaged with the programme and weren’t registered.
“And we found good uptake. Indicative numbers would suggest that nearly as close as half the people who attended the walk-in clinics over the weekend were people who hadn’t previously registered.
“There was an option for people who were registered but hadn’t yet got an appointment to come in as well.
“So overall we’re very happy with it, it was a good initiative. It has worked very well over this weekend”.
It marks another success for Ireland’s vaccination programme, after it outpaced the rollout in the UK on Saturday.
Ireland reached the figure of 72.4% of adults fully vaccinated at the weekend, while in the UK the rate was 72.1%.
The Republic of Ireland has administered more than two million Covid-19 jabs in six weeks, health officials have said.
More than 1.5 million of the 2.1 million jabs were given in July.
Twenty-six centres remained open on bank holiday Monday with people able to turn up to get a vaccine without an appointment.
It represented a significant turnaround after the early stages of the vaccine programme were hit by delays associated with EU supply issues.
In the spring there was speculation the UK might even donate surplus vaccines to the Republic later in the year to help it address the shortfall.
Since then, the Republic’s rollout has accelerated significantly. Around 73% of adults are now fully vaccinated while 87% have received a first dose.
Almost 5.9 million jabs have been administered in total.