Ireland is to back EU plans to sue AstraZeneca over its failings to deliver vaccines on time, dramatically slowing the Irish rollout.
Health Minister Stephen Donnelly informed the Dáil that Ireland has joined other EU countries in proposing a legal case against AstraZeneca.
The company has regularly failed to deliver the number of vaccines promised on numerous occasions. This also comes after the HSE confirmed that AstraZeneca had promised to deliver 45,000 jabs this week. However, it is now reported that only 9,000 vaccines will arrive.
Stephen Donnelly had this to say.
“A legal case has been initiated by the (European) Commission. Earlier this week I have joined Ireland as one of the parties to that legal case, specifically around AstraZeneca’s complete failure to meet it’s delivery contractual agreements for April, May and June”.
TD Neal Richmond also told Mr Donnelly that AstraZeneca has “let the people of Europe down so spectacularly in their darkest hour”.
A spokesperson for the European Commission has also said no legal case has started yet. But, they said they were considering launching a case against the vaccine producer.
In other news, HSE CEO Paul Reid has said that 150,000 people are due to receive their vaccine next week. This would be the biggest week yet for the vaccine campaign here.
Vaccines for 60-64 category
This comes as people aged between 60 and 64 can now register for the vaccine on the HSE’s online booking portal. The booking portal opened last week for people aged between 65 and 69, with 148,000 registered so far.
Everyone aged between 60 and 69 will receive this AstraZeneca jab. This has a delay of 12 weeks between dose.
TD Brendan Howlin said that the Government’s overrelience on unreliable AstraZeneca deliveries for people in this category, could see younger people vaccinated before older people.
Howlin said that young people will receive the Pfizer or Moderna jab and will only have to wait 4 weeks between each dose. Meanwhile, older people will be waiting 12 weeks between each jab.
This would mean younger people would be able to meet up and have more liberties than older people as fully vaccinated people will be able to meet up inside homes without masks.
“This is the only vaccine currently where there is a 12 week gap between doses. All the others are much shorter”, said Mr Howlin who is also in his 60s.
He added, “So as the vaccine programme continues, younger, and according to the clear medical advice, less vulnerable groups could well be fully vaccinated before the 60s age cohort group is. I think that would be unacceptable”.
Stephen Donnelly said that he will raise this issue with NIAC. The Health Minister also referred to the thousands of healthcare workers aged under 60 that are due to receive their second dose of AstraZeneca who have already received one dose before the advice changed.