Sinn Féin TD for Louth Ruairí Ó Murchú has welcomed news of a Covid-19 vaccine with 90% effectiveness and the announcement from the Taoiseach of a taskforce, headed by Dundalk Professor Brian MacCraith, that will oversee distribution.
When questioning the Taoiseach in the Dáil last night, Teachta Ó Murchú added that government must engage in discussions on an all-Ireland response to vaccination and the capacity to administer vaccines.
Teachta Ó Murchú said: “We must engage in discussions on an all-Ireland response to vaccination and the capacity to administer vaccines. Without an all-Ireland response, we are set for failure.
“The reports that the European Commission is close to signing a contract with Pfizer and BioNTech is welcoming. This is the fourth vaccine contract and we know that a number of phase 3 vaccine trials are ongoing.
“I welcome the confirmation from the Taoiseach that the government has been part of the European Commission approach in the pre-purchase of vaccines, affirming Pfizer and BioNTech as one of the partnerships in which a contract is being explored and very close to conclusion.
“Other vaccines are Sanofi, Janssen and Oxford-AstraZeneca.
“There will be a taskforce established headed by Professor Brian MacCraith to lead the logistics operation required for the vaccine procurement and distribution networks for vaccine administration.
“While we must continue in our efforts in fighting the pandemic with proactive public health measures and investment in testing, tracing, and isolating, this taskforce has a major job of work ahead.
“Given the reports today that hundreds of thousands of doses of the flu vaccine have gone missing, there is an onus on the government to regularly update the public on the programme of work of the taskforce and the delivery of a Covid vaccine.
“In the interest of public health, we cannot afford any errors or delays in this process.”