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jab latest Varadkar slams AstraZeneca for ‘not delivering the goods’ as lack of supply slows down Covid vaccinations

Varadkar said lower vaccine administration on weekends and Mondays is down to lack of supply.


Leo Varadkar (Julien Behal/PA)

Leo Varadkar (Julien Behal/PA)

Leo Varadkar (Julien Behal/PA)

Tánaiste Leo Varadkar has slammed AstraZeneca for “not being good at delivering the goods”, saying lower vaccine administration on weekends and Mondays is down to lack of supply.

After the Irish Independent revealed today that the HSE is administering on average 7,000 fewer vaccines on these days, Mr Varadkar said this was due to AstraZeneca not delivering as many doses as expected.

He said it is not due to staff being off work on these days, but if the supply isn’t there “there isn’t a huge point of calling them in on Sunday to give vaccines that they don’t have.”

The Tánaiste said delivering more than 100,000 vaccines a week was not a promise but a target which last week was missed.

"A consignment of 25,000 vaccines from AstraZeneca didn’t arrive and we were only informed of that on short notice,” he told Virgin Media’s Ireland AM today.

“It was a target and not a promise, and we always say when it comes to vaccines our targets are based on two things that are not under our control.

"Firstly, this is that the vaccines are being approved by the European Medicines Agency, which is not under our control, and secondly the vaccines actually arriving from abroad where they are made.

"Things that are under our control is that when they get into the country they are in people's arms in a week, and that’s happening.

“Unfortunately, there will be occasions where delivery doesn't arrive and there will be weeks where we are behind target and weeks where we are going to catch up.”

Despite this, Tánaiste Varadkar said he is “hoping we can do better” than the Taoiseach’s hope of having 82pc of people in the country with their first vaccine by March and everyone with their two doses by the end of September.

"I am hoping we can do better, we have a bit of redundancy in there- it doesn't include CureVac so if that comes online that's an extra 600,000 vaccines, and also we’re assuming everyone wants the vaccine, they won’t, there will be 10 or 15pc who don't so I hope we can do better.

“But, on the other hand, things can also go wrong and we may find for example that there's a problem with supply and AstraZeneca, in particular, hasn’t been very good at delivering the goods.”

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