Dundalk TD says vaccine rollout needs to be streamlined as AstraZeneca jabs restart

Michelle O'Keeffe

Reporter:

Michelle O'Keeffe

Email:

michelle.okeeffe@dundalkdemocrat.ie

Dundalk TD says vaccine rollout needs to be streamlined  as Astra Zeneca jabs restart

People are tired and drained after doing their best for nearly three months of Level 5 lockdown, but the government now needs to do its best, Ruairí Ó Murchú has said.

The Dundalk TD was speaking after it was announced that the AstraZeneca vaccines have restarted this week.

He said: "Covid-19 numbers remain stubbornly high.

"People are trying their best.

"They are drained from three months of lockdown; a year of having their lives on hold, and what they need to see right now is the government showing that they are doing their best.

"We are into the final week of March 2021 and mandatory hotel quarantine still has not been introduced.

"And when it does go live, just 33 countries will be on the list.

"Meanwhile there remains a lot of issues with the test, trace and isolate system which, 12 months after the start of this crisis, still has not been streamlined properly.

"And there is a need for the government and the EU to engage with the pharmaceutical industry to ensure all capacity is utilised and to maximise supply.

"There needs to be an agreement between the EU Commission and the British government about vaccines supply, not legal battles.

"Vaccines need to happen on global basis or it will be a failure.

"There would be concerns that more strains will develop and will be imported and will then be a constant virus chase with repurposed vaccine booster shots.

"The vaccine rollout and its related systems need to be streamlined so if we get to a million vaccines in April and more in May (1.2 million) and June (1.6million) we have the capacity to deliver in an orderly and speedy way."

The Sinn Féin TD also said that business supports are not catching all the firms that need help.

Many, he said, are failing between the cracks and new schemes are required.

Deputy Ó Murchú has been speaking to Tanáiste Leo Varadkar about it in recent weeks.

He said: "All these pressures, all these difficulties are happening against the continuing febrile atmosphere of Brexit, where the DUP are electioneering and the British have shown bad faith with the Irish protocol. None of that is going away."