Covid-19 vaccine: Government forms taskforce to oversee distribution

Covid-19 vaccine: Government forms taskforce to oversee distribution

A high level taskforce will oversee the distribution of the Covid-19 vaccine, when it becomes available in Ireland. File Picture: BioNTech SE 2020/PA Wire

The Government has established a "high-level" taskforce to manage the distribution of a Covid-19 vaccine.

Taoiseach Micheál Martin said that the group will include representation from the civil service and the HSE and will ensure the vaccine can reach the most vulnerable. It will oversee the distribution of the vaccine, when one becomes available. 

Labour's Alan Kelly asked Mr Martin about the distribution of the vaccine on foot of this week's news that the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine candidate was more effective than hoped.

"Given the issues with storage, this may or may not be the vaccine that is rolled out [in Ireland]. But we cannot allow this result in any sort of complacency in how we deal with the vaccine. We need to know the plan from your government for the rolling out of the vaccine."

Mr Kelly asked for details on the number of doses Ireland will receive and how it will be rolled out and administered. The Labour leader said that it must be better than the administration of the flu vaccine.

Mr Martin said that the taskforce, the formation of which was agreed at Cabinet on Tuesday, would oversee the distribution of the vaccine, of which there could be seven. It will include representatives from the civil service, the HSE and the CMO.

In terms of doses, Ireland will receive around 1% of the total number available to the EU, Mr Martin said. He said this number would be "significant for targeting the vulnerable".

"The bottom line is that we are part of a pre-purchase agreement with the European Commission and the European Commission has advanced purchase agreements. And so far and prior to this week with the Oxford/Astra Zeneca consortium with Janssen, which is owned by Johnson & Johnson and Sanofi Pasteur.

"The President of the European Commission has been leading that with the commission. I've been in contact with the President's Commission on that. It's been discussed the European Union council meetings, and ultimately it's the Commission's target to hopefully have seven candidates, there's enough funding across European system.

"That vaccine task force will be tasked with coordinating but also ensuring the national nationwide rollout of a Covid-19 vaccine when one is safe and ready to be shipped."

Mr Martin said that the Pfizer vaccine will require -80 degree storage, which creates challenges.

More in this section

Puzzles logo
IE-logo

Puzzles hub

Visit our brain gym where you will find simple and cryptic crosswords, sudoku puzzles and much more. Updated at midnight every day. PS ... We would love to hear your feedback on the section right HERE.

Puzzles logo
IE-logo

Puzzles hub

Visit our brain gym where you will find simple and cryptic crosswords, sudoku puzzles and much more. Updated at midnight every day. PS ... We would love to hear your feedback on the section right HERE.