I had asked a few weeks ago that we would do a session on Covid-19 vaccines. I think we had agreed on 16 December. That date is timely because it gives the new chairperson and the members of the task force time to examine all the issues. I propose that Brian MacCraith, who is the chairperson of the task force, be invited in. We should also have in Colm Henry, the HSE lead, and Professor Butler from the Royal College of Physicians Ireland. She has been excellent.
The vaccine will be important and significant in the battle against Covid-19. There are many exciting developments in this area. This will pose a challenge in terms of distribution and it will be important to have the infrastructure in place. Let us consider the flu vaccine this year. We have 1.3 million doses. However, for Covid-19 we will need 3.3 million doses at least. There will be advance purchase agreements with several of these companies. This is the biggest number of doses of vaccine that will ever be administered in the history of the State. Given its scale, I imagine we will need pop-up centres for administration. I am unsure whether general practitioners and pharmacists have the ability to roll this out as quickly as it needs to be done. There may be a need to recruit staff and train up staff and so on. This is why it is timely for us to be dealing with it at that meeting.
It is important that we get this right so that, come December, the bones of a plan are in place when the task force representatives come before the committee. Can we give them a heads-up as quickly as we can about that session? These are the types of conversations we want to have with them.