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Taoiseach to discuss global vaccine production with President Joe Biden on St Patrick's Day


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TAOISEACH Micheál Martin will offer to work with US President Joe Biden on increasing the global production of Covid-19 vaccines when the two leaders meet for St Patrick's Day.

Mr Martin is coming under pressure to ask Mr Biden for any additional vaccines ahead of their meeting. There are 30 million AstraZeneca vaccines sitting in storage in the US awaiting stateside clinical trials to approve the jabs.

US media are reporting intense debates in the White House over what to do with the extra supply, as countries plead with the Biden administration to export the vaccines while they await trial outcomes.

Ahead of the St Patrick's Day meeting, Fianna Fáil MEP Billy Kelleher has written to Mr Martin urging him to raise the surplus vaccines in US storage with Mr Biden.

"Taoiseach, I believe you should and must use your meeting next week with President Biden to stress the need for the US to allow the export of AstraZeneca vaccines and indeed other forms of vaccines to other countries that want to use them," he said.

The MEP said Ireland's "special and deep relationship" with America, along with Mr Biden's "love" for Ireland, "lends itself well to a successful agreement being concluded".

"I have no doubt this is already on your agenda," Mr Kelleher added.

Separately, Mr Kelleher wrote to Mr Biden saying Ireland is suffering because of pharmaceutical companies' failure to meet commitments on vaccines.

The Taoiseach's spokesperson said Mr Martin will raise "global production and supply of vaccines".

Mr Martin is also expected to offer to work with the US on increasing the production and availability of vaccines.

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