Pfizer starts vaccinating staff involved in vaccine roll out

Medicines company says it is offering jab on-site to ‘essential employees’

Vials of the Pfizer/BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine. Photograph: Sebastien BozonAFP via Getty Images

Vials of the Pfizer/BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine. Photograph: Sebastien BozonAFP via Getty Images

 

Pfizer has started vaccinating staff who are considered essential to the supply of its Covid-19 vaccine in Ireland and across the EU.

The company says it is offering the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine on-site to “essential employees” such as those in manufacturing, “who are critical to the vaccine effort and the continued supply of all Pfizer medicines”.

Over 40,000 healthcare staff and nursing home residents and staff have received the vaccine since roll out started in Ireland at the end of December. So far, it is the only Covid-19 vaccine authorised for use here, though a second vaccine, from Moderna, is expected to be authorised shortly after receiving EU regulatory approval last week.

A Pfizer spokeswoman said the doses for staff are “separate and distinct from those committed by the company to governments around the world and will not impact supply to national governments in any way”.

“Ensuring supply of our medicines and continuation of critical research and development work across therapeutic areas, including cardiovascular disease and cancer, is a priority for global health, particularly given the current burden on health systems around the world as a result of Covid-19.

Vaccination of “site-essential” staff began this week at Pfizer’s facilities in the US and Belgium and will be expanded to other sites on a rolling basis, the spokeswoman said.

About 15,000 company staff across Europe are expected to be immunised in this way.