By Sarah Keane • 28 March 2021 • 13:06
UK ‘could offer Covid vaccines to Ireland after Easter’ in a move that might ruffle a few EU feathers
As the vaccine war shows no immediate signs of abating, government claims that the UK is planning on sending surplus doses to Ireland in the coming weeks is sure to spark controversy. Cabinet ministers discussed the possibility of shipping some 3.7million doses to the Republic during a meeting on Sunday morning, March 28 amid fears that the slow rollout in the country is prolonging the coronavirus lockdown in Northern Ireland.
While many ministers consider the move to be “good politics”, Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden insisted that fully vaccinating Britons remains the “priority”, claiming that the UK “currently doesn’t have a surplus.”
“Clearly, our first priority is ensuring we deliver vaccines in the United Kingdom. We clearly don’t currently have a surplus of vaccines, should we get to the point where we have a surplus of vaccines we’d make decisions on the allocation of that surplus,” he said.
The contentious discussion comes as Tory Cabinet Minister Oliver Dowden announced that some 500,000 doses of the US Moderna vaccine is expected to arrive in the UK sometime in April, which will add to the stockpile of millions of Pfizer and AstraZeneca jabs already in the country.
A Cabinet source told the Sunday Times: ‘Everyone can see the logic of it. It’s good politics while at the same time solving a genuine public health concern in Northern Ireland.
‘It is a balancing act, making sure that we have enough vaccines to give the UK’s adult population the second dose.
‘Easter will be when we might be able to start offering vaccines to Ireland.’
Last month, Sinn Fein leader Mary Lou McDonald suggested that the UK should share any surplus vaccines with the Republic of Ireland, and indeed the rest of the EU, in a spirit of “generosity and solidarity.”
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Former teacher and health services manager with a Degree in English, Sarah moved to Spain from Southern Ireland with her husband, who runs his own car rental business, in 2019. She is now enjoying a completely different pace and quality of life on the Costa Blanca South, with wonderful Spanish and expat friends in Cabo Roig. Sarah began working with Euro Weekly News in 2020 and loves nothing more than bringing all the latest national and international news to her local community.
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