Government set to buy million coronavirus vaccines from Romania

Taoiseach and Romanian president signal agreement ‘in principle’ to the purchase

A spokesman for the Taoiseach said he would continue to work with Government colleagues to expedite the vaccine programme. File photograph: Getty

A spokesman for the Taoiseach said he would continue to work with Government colleagues to expedite the vaccine programme. File photograph: Getty

 

The Government is set to buy one million Covid-19 vaccine doses from Romania.

Taoiseach Micheál Martin held talks with the Romanian president Klaus Iohannis on Friday morning and they agreed in principle to the purchase.

Romania halted the importation of vaccines due to a slow uptake among its citizens in recent days and has already sold more than a million doses to Denmark.

Speaking on Friday evening, Taoiseach Micheál Martin said that agreement in principle had been reached for the one million mRNA vaccines from Romania.

He said the uptake of Covid-19 vaccines in Romania was lower than Ireland as he thanked the Romanian Government for the “show of solidarity”.

“We have been seeking additional vaccines for the last while, engaging with my counterparts across Europe. I had a good discussion this morning with President of Romania Klaus Iohannis.

“He was very helpful and in a show of solidarity with Ireland and the people of Ireland, Klaus is anxious to help given the Delta variant and the fact we are in close proximity to the United Kingdom, the impact on Northern Ireland and the fact we have such a high uptakes that we need additional supplies.

“In principle we have reached an agreement that would supply us with a million mRNA vaccines and obviously there are logistical issues to be gone through but it is very good news”.

“We are particularly concerned with the Delta variant and the need to vaccinate as quickly as we possibly can and build strong protection over time.”

“This is a show of solidarity. Their rate of uptake has not been as significant as Ireland’s and that has been a feature in some EU countries,” he said.

About 24 per cent of Romania’s 19 million residents have been fully inoculated. But the rollout has faltered in the provinces of the largely rural country due to poor infrastructure, wariness of the state and the spread of conspiracy theories through communities where health education is often poor.

At the same time, a slowing infection rate has weakened the impetus for some in Romania to get vaccinated: only 31 new virus cases of and five deaths were reported on Thursday, adding to a national total of 1.08 million infections and 33,786 fatalities.