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Health Minister Says Vaccine Roll-Out May Begin Before New Year

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The national Covid-19 vaccination plan may begin before the end of the year, Health Minister Stephen Donnelly has said.

Minister Donnelly said approval for the Pfizer vaccine may be signed off on by the European Medical Agency on December 21st.

The minister also added that the Government will begin rolling out the vaccine as soon as possible thereafter, and it could happen before the end of they year.

Mr Donnelly was speaking as the National Covid-19 Vaccination Programme was launched in the Department of Health with the HSE CEO Paul Reid, Chief Medical Officer Dr. Tony Holohan and others.

The report authored by a high-level task force sets out how the vaccine will be delivered to people who sign up to the programme.

Stephen Donnelly said: “It is possible that if the EMA does authorise this vaccine that an initial – it would be a very low level – but that an initial round of vaccination could actually begin before the new year”.

Mr Donnelly said the vaccination programme would be rolled out in three phases.

“It will be bigger and more complex than previous vaccination programmes. It will play a central role in our exit from the pandemic”.

However, he cautioned: “A vaccine won’t have a positive impact on the direct trajectory of this disease for at least months to come.”