HSE takes delivery of first doses of Pfizer BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine

HSE takes delivery of first doses of Pfizer BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine  

Vaccines arrive in Ireland ready for rollout of HSE’s national Covid-19 vaccination programme

Ireland’s first allocation of Pfizer BioNTech Covid-19 vaccines have arrived in Ireland today, 26 December 2020. The initial doses of the vaccine are now being stored in ultra-low refrigeration conditions at a secure location awaiting the rollout of the HSE national Covid-19 vaccination programme which is set to begin as soon as possible.

Minister for Health, Stephen Donnelly TD said: "After a difficult and different Christmas for many people, it is wonderful to see the first deliveries of Covid-19 vaccines to Ireland today. The arrival of these vaccines to Ireland is a significant and positive step forward after a very challenging year. I want to acknowledge the hard work of teams in my Department, across government, the HSE and by several other stakeholders in getting us to this point. The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine Comirnaty was rigorously tested by the European Medicines Agency and was found to be safe and effective. It is a massive achievement by the scientific and medical communities. This vaccine will save many lives."

"The recent increase in cases focuses our collective minds on the continued challenge of COVID 19. The advent of safe and effective vaccines will help us to protect the most vulnerable in our society as we ramp up our immunisation programme over the coming weeks and months. While we look forward to a brighter year with the roll out of vaccines, we still need to be aware of the threat of Covid-19. Please continue to follow all public health guidance and remember that every contact counts."

Paul Reid, CEO, HSE, said: “This delivery is a welcome sight at what is a very difficult time in our efforts to curb the devastating impact of Covid-19. It represents hope for us all as we move into a New Year, but we must remember, we all still have our part to play. Over the coming days HSE teams will work tirelessly with the support of Professor Brian MacCraith’s Taskforce to get vaccinations underway safely and speedily. The public can support our efforts by continuing to follow the public health guidance that has protected so many of us so far.”

Professor Brian MacCraith, Chairperson of the High-level Task Force added: “After a truly horrible year, today’s arrival represents a bright new dawn of hope. It’s a gateway of opportunity for Irish people to protect themselves against this awful virus.”

Speaking today, Paul Reid, Country Manager, Pfizer Healthcare Ireland commented: “It is great news that the Pfizer and BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine has arrived in Ireland. This has taken a tremendous effort and it would have not been possible without the tireless efforts of our scientists and the dedicated work of thousands of individuals involved from the laboratory to logistics, as well as the volunteers who took part in the clinical trial. Pfizer has moved at the speed of science and began manufacturing much earlier in the regulatory process producing millions of doses in advance - this is just one of the crucial factors that has helped see a vaccine developed in record time. We look forward to continuing to collaborate with the government and all those involved in the roll-out of the National COVID-19 Vaccination Programme. This is a significant milestone in this pandemic but while the vaccination programme gets underway over the coming months, we urge people to continue with public health advice to reduce social contacts, wear a mask, wash your hands and social distance.”

Dr. Colm Henry, Chief Clinical Office, HSE, added: “While this is a very positive development, it is critical that all of us keep in mind that the vaccine is not our first line of defence against COVID-19. Our advice to the public remains the same, in particular as we see increased community transmission and case numbers continue to rise. Please keep your guard up, keep your numbers of contact as low as possible, keep washing your hands and maintaining social distance. Avoid crowds, wear your face coverings, and try to meet people outside if you can, as indoor or unventilated spaces increase the risk of transmission.

Last updated on: 26 / 12 / 2020