By James Ward, PA
Ireland is to donate 335,500 doses of Covid-19 vaccines to Uganda, the Minister for Health has said.
The doses, delivery of which is to be completed this week, is in addition to one million vaccines Ireland has already committed to donating through the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) Covax programme.
Ireland will also donate all the consumables necessary to support the administration of the vaccines in Uganda.
Health Minister Stephen Donnelly said: “The donation represents the next step in Ireland’s continued commitment to vaccine solidarity.
“Universal and equitable access to Covid-19 vaccines is a priority for Ireland.
“This donation of vaccines builds on the recent Government commitment to contribute one million Covid-19 vaccines to the Covax global vaccine initiative.
“I wish to express my thanks to the HSE for the significant logistical planning to facilitate the delivery of these much needed doses to the people of Uganda.”
Minister for International Development Colm Brophy said Ireland has shown “solidarity with the people of Uganda”.
He added: “It’s only by acting together as a global community that we can each be safe from this awful virus.
“Reducing the impact of the pandemic will help protect hard won gains in the fight against poverty and inequality, gains in which Irish Aid has been proud to help achieve.
“That is why, in addition to the donation today, Ireland has also committed to share another one million vaccine doses in the coming months, with more next year.”
He added: “In addition and through the Irish Aid budget, I have committed seven million euro to Covax this year, which will also help accelerate vaccination efforts in low and middle income countries.”
HSE chief executive Paul Reid welcomed the donation, which he said required “considerable logistical planning” on the part of the health service.
“We are grateful to all those involved in this initiative for their support, in achieving this,” he said.