Written answers

Wednesday, 18 November 2020

Richard O'Donoghue (Limerick County, Independent)
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169. To ask the Minister for Health the position regarding the EU deal for 300 million Covid-19 vaccine doses; if he will report on the dose supply; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [37200/20]

Photo of Stephen DonnellyStephen Donnelly (Wicklow, Fianna Fail)
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Ireland is currently involved in an EU Procurement Exercise being operated by the European Commission on behalf of member states to procure a portfolio of suitable, safe and effective vaccines, in sufficient quantities, to combat COVID-19. BioNTech/Pfizer is one of the vaccine suppliers that the Commission has negotiated with. 

On 11 November, the European Commission approved an Advance Purchase Agreement (APA) with a pharmaceutical company, BioNTech-Pfizer, which provides for the initial purchase of 200 million doses on behalf of all EU Member States, plus an option to purchase up to a further 100 million doses, to be supplied once a vaccine has proven to be safe and effective against COVID-19. Ireland will be entitled to a pro rata share of these. The EU has also concluded APAs with AstraZeneca, Sanofi-Pasteur and Janssen (Johnson and Johnson). 

While a number of media reports have pointed to the potential for a high degree of efficacy in relation to some of these vaccines, no vaccine for COVID-19 has yet been approved for use and usage of any vaccine is condition on their receipt of market authorisation from the European Medicines Agency.

Neasa Hourigan (Dublin Central, Green Party)
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170. To ask the Minister for Health the steps taken by his Department to ensure the necessary logistical supports are being put in place to ensure a potential Covid-19 vaccine will be distributed appropriately; the steps taken to further ensure the necessary supply of C02 and dry ice that may be required to both store and transport a potential Covid-19 vaccine; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [37217/20]

Photo of Stephen DonnellyStephen Donnelly (Wicklow, Fianna Fail)
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Ireland is currently involved in an EU Procurement Exercise being operated by the European Commission on behalf of member states to procure a portfolio of suitable, safe and effective vaccines, in sufficient quantities, to combat COVID-19.

I can assure the Deputy of the Government's commitment to the timely implementation of a COVID-19 immunisation programme, as soon as one or more vaccines in the portfolio are approved for use. 

In this regard, a cross-Government High-Level Taskforce has been established to support and oversee the development and implementation of the programme.  Logistics arrangements are amongst the range of matters which will be addressed in the context of the work of the Task Force and the State agencies and other stakeholders with which it will work.

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