Government 'actively monitoring' ways to obtain vaccine

Ireland has signed two expressions of interests with separate international mechanisms as a joint EU approach to Covid-19 procurement 
Government 'actively monitoring' ways to obtain vaccine

Elizabeth Canavan says the Taoiseasch's Department is "actively monitoring all potential mechanisms". File Photo: Sam Boal

The Government is "actively monitoring" ways to obtain the Covid-19 vaccine when it becomes available, according to an official from the Taoiseach’s department.

The department’s assistant secretary general, Elizabeth Canavan, said there has been much talk of a vaccine and speculation around when one will become available.

“We are actively monitoring all potential mechanisms available to procure vaccine stocks as soon as it becomes available,” she said.

Ms Canavan said Ireland has signed "expression of interest" letters with two separate mechanisms.

One is a joint EU approach to Covid-19 procurement to ensure coordinated action at European level to protect public health and achieve optimal management of Covid-19 through vaccination.

The other is the Covax initiative — Access to Covid-19 Tools Accelerator, a new global collaboration to accelerate development, production, and equitable access to Covid-19 diagnostics, therapeutics, and vaccines.

Ms Canavan said GPs are reporting more cases of Covid-19 this week, but that this was expected.

“The fact that we have access to testing; that we can spot clusters and track symptoms; that we are learning about the virus, all of this shows that the system is working and we are making progress.

“However, the system does not work where people do not report or delay in reporting their symptoms. When this happens, it puts not only the person but everyone around them at risk," Ms Canavan said.

“Your GP is not there to judge you; they’re there to help. Getting a test is how you keep your family, friends, and colleagues safe,” she added.

Ms Canavan also urged people to wear a face-covering on public transport, in shops, and in places where social distancing is difficult.

“You’re doing it for yourself, your friends, your family, and all of the people on the frontline who are delivering services for every one of us.”

Ms Canavan said the HSE's Covid Tracker App is now available in global app and play stores so anyone in Ireland with a Google or Apple account in another country could download it and play their part in helping to suppress the virus.

“We are also encouraging anyone travelling to Ireland from other locations to download and install the app while they are here so they can become part of the Irish contracting tracing community,” she said.

Ms Canavan also said that a "considerable" financial support package being planned by the Government to help schools reopen will be announced in the coming days.

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