Cabinet to consider vaccine rollout plan on Tuesday

Report to be sent to Government today and Cabinet will consider it for approval next week

Earlier this week the Government agreed which groups would be prioritised to receive the vaccine once it becomes available.

Earlier this week the Government agreed which groups would be prioritised to receive the vaccine once it becomes available.

 

The plan for how a Covid-19 vaccine will be rolled out over the coming weeks and months is to be sent to Government today and will be discussed by Cabinet early next week.

The report was prepared by a high level task force chaired by Professor Brian MacCraith, which first met on November 23rd, with the aim of producing a report by December 11th.

The report will set out a national strategy for the procurement, distribution, and delivery of a Covid-19 vaccine, including the logistics of how the doses will be stored, transported and administered.

The plan is expected to be considered for approval by Cabinet at a meeting on Tuesday, given Taoiseach Micheál Martin is currently in Brussels for a European Council meeting.

Members of the task force included chief medical officer Dr Tony Holohan, Health Service Executive CEO Paul Reid, as well as a number of senior civil servants and officials working in procurement and other areas. The group also included external logistics experts, as well as representatives from the IDA and the Defence Forces.

Earlier this week the Government agreed which groups would be prioritised to receive the vaccine once it becomes available.

Residents aged over 65 in long term care facilities, such as nursing homes, frontline health care workers, and people over 70 years of age would be among the first to receive the vaccine.

The rollout of the vaccine will follow approval by the European Medicines Agency (EMA). The European regulator is due to complete a final review of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine by the end of December at the latest, which could see the first doses administered in Ireland in January.

The EMA may approve a second vaccine produced by Moderna in early January, after which it would also be administered in Ireland.

The vaccines produced by Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna must be stored at super low temperatures of minus 80, and minus 20 degrees respectively, and the task force had to examine how these would be stored and transported.

The report from the task force is also expected to include guidance on how vaccination records should be maintained, and the uptake of the vaccine tracked.

On Tuesday, a 90-year-old woman from Enniskillen became the first person in the world to receive the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine, after it was approved by British medical regulators.