Ireland has signed up for advanced purchase orders for more than 10 million doses of Covid-19 vaccines.
The Government is bidding for doses through the EU system and now has capacity on pre-order to comfortably provide enough vaccine for the entire country.
The European Commission has agreed to purchase orders with five vaccine trials and is in negotiations with a sixth in Moderna.
While 10 million doses may be available, some vaccines, like the one from Pfizer, require a double dose and so the actual number of people who can be inoculated will be smaller.
However, a spokesperson for the Department of Health said they expect to have sufficient supplies of vaccine when they become available.
Yesterday, the Irish-born executive director of the European Medicines Agency (EMA), Emer Cooke has said that “all going well” the agency could be in a position to approve new Covid-19 vaccines before Christmas.
So far, three vaccines have published promising results from their final trials, with Pfizer and Moderna both saying their vaccine is over 90 per cent effective.
A shot being developed by a team at Oxford University is also said to be on average 62 per cent effective, but the efficacy increases to 90 per cent when a smaller dosage is administered first, followed by a larger dose.
After nine months of restrictions, the final push for an effective and safe vaccine has been welcome news, with Dublin-born vaccinologist Professor Adrian Hill, head of the Jenner Institute in Oxford, saying: “Maybe by next May or June we could be back to normal”.
However, Prof Hill added that until there was widespread vaccination, people would have to continue adhering to public health guidelines.