Wednesday, 10 February 2021

Questions (701)

James Lawless

Question:

701. Deputy James Lawless asked the Minister for Health if clarity will be provided regarding the suggestion that the EU allocated vaccines according to how well placed member states are to administer same; if Ireland can receive additional doses of the vaccine if the country was in a position to administer them more quickly; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [6349/21]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Health)

Ireland is participating in a Procurement Exercise being operated by the European Commission on behalf of Member States to procure suitable, safe and effective vaccines, in sufficient quantities, to combat COVID-19. Six Advanced Procurement Agreements (APAs) have been negotiated by the Commission under this process to date.

Ireland has agreed to procure five of these vaccine candidates under of the terms of the APAs; government approval has been obtained to opt-into a sixth, but this is conditional on certain trial progression criteria being met.

The basic principle for the allocation of the doses to the Member States is the population-based distribution key. This is a pro rata key on the basis of population numbers and ensures a fair distribution. Delivery of vaccines to each country is concurrent.

Ireland has signalled its solidarity with the EU approach and has, through its participation, gained access to a broad range of vaccines that it might not otherwise have access to, and at the cost agreed collectively by the EU.

Given that there will be initially limited vaccines available, it will take some time for all to receive those vaccines and that has necessitated a national allocation strategy to ensure that those most at risk of death and serious illness receive the vaccine first. Vaccine allocation is a matter for my Department and further information is available here: https://www.gov.ie/en/publication/39038-provisional-vaccine-allocation-groups/.