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Marc O'Sullivan

Ireland to get 4.9m doses of Pfizer/BioNTech in both 2022 and 2023

Cabinet were told that booster shots may be required.

HEALTH MINISTER STEPHEN Donnelly got Cabinet approval for the government to enter into an EU agreement that will see Ireland get 4.9 million doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine in 2022 and another 4.9 million in 2023.

Under the agreement, Ireland would have enough to fully vaccinate approximately 2.45 million people with two doses.

Ireland will also retain the option of securing an additional 9.8m doses over the same time period.

Ministers were told that variants could continue to evolve over the coming months and that vaccine immunity is not indefinite.

Therefore, it is likely that repeated boosters with updated vaccine formulations may be needed for a very high proportion of the population.

Vaccinations will also likely be extended to persons under 16 years of age, Cabinet was told.

Pfizer/BioNTech are understood to be in the process of updating the formulation and doses secured via the new agreement, with the company stating that it would be capable of storing the vaccine in standard refrigeration.

This will remove the operational difficulties attached to the vaccine at present, making it more portable, less perishable and easier to store, according to a government spokesperson.

Separately, ministers were told today that the HSE’s revised vaccine plan was not ready for Cabinet today, with the proposed changes going to the health minister this evening. 

Ministers were told that the HSE expects to administer 240,000 doses of the vaccine this week.

As of 2 May, 311,000 of the 60-69 group have registered for their vaccine – which accounts for just 74% of that cohort. 

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