Sinn Féin spokesperson on Health David Cullinane TD has welcomed the news of progress on the Moderna Covid-19 vaccine.
Teachta Cullinane said:
“The progress on developing a Covid-19 vaccine is welcome. We now have several viable contenders who hope to be able to distribute a vaccine in the first quarter of next year.
“Moderna is one of a number of companies with which the European Commission has engaged with on procuring a Covid-19 vaccine.
“We must learn from the problems with the flu vaccine this year. We cannot have a situation where there are distributional or storage issues with the vaccine, and we need to be more proactive in ensuring the right people get access to the vaccine as soon as possible.
“This is the clear task for the High-Level Task Force. Vaccine availability, while a few months off, will come quickly. We need to be ready to hit the ground running.
“If life is to return to any sense of normality, it will only be with the help of widespread vaccination against the disease.
“Sinn Féin supports the Right to Cure campaign, which is an EU-wide campaign that calls for all treatments, therapies and vaccines related to Covid-19 to be universally and freely available.
“We are calling on the government to ensure that this becomes a reality.
“We cannot have a situation where those on low pay, and most at risk of contracting the virus in the workplace, cannot afford the vaccine.
“I have requested a briefing for opposition Health spokespeople and the Health Committee on the EU Commission’s procurement programme, and I am seeking information on the government’s plans for making the vaccines universally available once they are ready.
“We met with AstraZeneca last week to discuss their vaccine and welcome the pledge from pharmaceutical companies not to profit during the pandemic stage, up to July 2020.
“This is a global emergency which should not be profited from to ensure that the vaccine has widespread availability within and across nations.”