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Ireland to buy one million COVID-19 vaccines from Romania

DUBLIN: Ireland is set to buy one million coronavirus vaccine doses from Romania. The move will provide a significant boost to the vaccination programme, as the country remains concerned about the fourth wave of COVID-19. The two countries are in the final stages of negotiations on this.

Efforts to bring the vaccine from other EU countries have been going on for days under the leadership of Taoiseach Micheál Martin. Ireland is expected to receive 700,000 Pfizer vaccines and 300,000 Moderna vaccines from Romania.

A government spokesperson said that talks are also underway with the European Commission and member states, particularly those with potential vaccine dose surpluses. “Ensuring that as many people as possible can get vaccinated as quickly as possible remains the best way to combat Covid-19, particularly given the rapid rise of the Delta variant,” the spokesperson said.

Romania had halted vaccine imports because people were hesitant to receive the vaccine. Earlier this week, Romania exported more than a million doses of the vaccine to Denmark. Earlier this week, 43,000 AstraZeneca vaccines expired, leaving Romania unable to administer them.

The news that Ireland will receive additional doses from Romania comes just hours after Health Minister Stephen Donnelly said that pharmacists will be able to begin administering the Johnson & Johnson vaccination to 18- to 34-year-olds beginning next week. Mr. Donnelly said those in this age group can register for vaccination online or directly at pharmacies.  

He added that in the current scenario, the vaccine could be made available to young people two months earlier than planned. With the arrival of one million vaccines from Romania, the government may be able to intensify the vaccination programme.

Meanwhile, chief medical officer Dr. Tony Holohan warned that the Delta variant of COVID-19, which is likely to spread rapidly in August and September, might be severe. “We are not going to stop this happening. This variant has sufficient strength in the way of fitness to become dominant across Europe. It’s a question of when rather than if,” he said.

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