Largest quantities of vaccines expected during the second quarter of 2021
News of an “abundant level” of Covid-19 vaccines to be made available in the second quarter of this year has been welcomed by Ireland South MEP Deirdre Clune.
MEP Clune, a member of the European Parliament’s Environment, Public Health and Food Safety Committee, said this week’s committee had the opportunity to put questions forward to the EU’s lead negotiator on Covid-19 vaccine contracts, on the latest developments regarding contracts, transparency, authorisations, availability and the deployment of the vaccines.
"We heard that there will be an 'abundant level' of vaccines to be made available in the second quarter of this year, which I very much welcome," MEP Clune said.
“In Ireland we're at the important stage of vaccinating the most vulnerable members of our society and with time vaccinations will become available for all who wish to be vaccinated.”
BioNTech/Pfizer and Moderna vaccines have been approved by the European Medicines Agency. The Moderna vaccine arrived in Ireland this week, while the BioNTech/Pfizer vaccine is currently being administered in Ireland and across the EU.
The European Medicines Agency (EMA) received the application for the AstraZeneca vaccine this week too and the conditional market authorisation is expected at the end of January.
"The Health Commissioner noted that she expects Johnson and Johnson to seek approval from the EMA in February and if all goes well the AstraZenaca and Johnson and Johnson vaccines would be approved for use and we could have four vaccine types available by Spring," MEP Clune said.
"The evaluation of the vaccine will proceed under an accelerated timeline. The EMA has already reviewed some data on the vaccine during a rolling review and has been working hard to scrutinise vaccines to ensure their safety and efficacy.
“The European Commission last week purchased an additional 300 million doses of the BioNTech/Pfizer vaccine. This enables the EU to not only cover the needs of its whole population, but also to supply vaccinations to neighbouring countries.”
MEP Clune said the largest quantities of vaccines are expected during the second quarter of 2021, as already agreed in the existing contracts .
“The European Commission's role lies in negotiating on behalf of Member States to secure vaccine doses. The responsibility of vaccine deployment strategies lies with each individual member state," MEP Clune said.
“The Irish Government established the High Level Task Force (HLTF) on Covid-19 Vaccination in November 2020 to ensure the requisite oversight, agility and specialist input is available to support the HSE and the Department of Health in the effective, efficient and agile delivery of the Covid-19 vaccination programme.”
In December the Government approved the National Covid-19 Vaccination Strategy and noted the initial implementation plan would be a living document, requiring regular revision and updating as the programme evolves.