Fianna Fáil MEP Billy Kelleher has said that the Irish Government should seek to purchase unused or unwanted AstraZeneca vaccines from other EU member states if they become available.

The Ireland South MEP, and member of the European Parliament’s Public Health Committee, made the suggestion, as it emerged that between them France and Germany have over two million unused doses of the vaccine.

“Of course, it may come to pass that France and Germany will eventually make use of their AstraZeneca vaccines, but with public enthusiasm for this type of vaccine quite low in both countries, there may be scope for Ireland to purchase additional supplies in the future.

“Some EU member states, such as Denmark, have succeeded in purchasing additional vaccine supplies when other counties did not take up their full allocations. Ireland should be ready to do the same.

“Quite simply, whatever the cost, it would be worth it. It will always be cheaper than keeping our economy and society in a deep freeze for longer,” added the Renew Europe MEP.

“The Government, I believe, is doing a good job in terms of administering vaccines as and when they arrive in to the country. The limiting factor has always been supply. If there is an opportunity to increase the supply of vaccines for Irish people, the Government and Department of Health must grab it.

“The vaccine rollout is a defining moment for our country. Everything must be on the table, no opportunity should be overlooked, and no expense should be spared,” concluded Kelleher.