The Irish Government has said it is not aware of a specific UK plan to share vaccines with Ireland.
Responding to a Sunday Times report that suggested the UK was planning to give 3.7 million vaccines to the Irish Republic when it had spare capacity, a spokesman for the Irish Government said: “The UK has previously indicated that once it has achieved a high level of vaccination of its own population, it would consider sharing vaccines with other countries.
“We are not aware of any specific plans to share vaccines with Ireland at this stage.
“The Irish and UK governments maintain close contact across all matters of common interest.”
However, Northern Ireland’s First Minister Arlene Foster has said a reported plan for the UK to share vaccines with the Irish Republic is a “runner”.
Mrs Foster, who has raised the proposal with UK prime minister Boris Johnson in recent conversations, expressed confidence it “hopefully will happen”.
She said sharing excess supply with the Irish Republic was important in respect of being good neighbours but also because it would have a practical impact in Northern Ireland in terms of the region’s exit from lockdown.
“I think it is a runner,” Mrs Foster told RTÉ.
“When I’m next speaking to him (Mr Johnson) I’ll be making that point again.
“I think it’s important that we continue the conversation and I’ll be listening very carefully to what our medical advisers are saying about the rollout of the vaccine in Northern Ireland, where it is in the Republic of Ireland and what that means for both jurisdictions.”
The DUP leader added: “I think it’s the right thing that should happen, I think it’s a very practical thing to do and I think it should happen and hopefully it will.”