The Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly has said Ireland is 'in line' with the rest of the EU27 when it comes to the roll out of the Pfizer Covid-19 vaccine.

Speaking on RTÉ's Prime Time he said when the European Medicines Agency approves the vaccine there should be a roll-out in early January.

''It's good news and a good week for Ireland in our fight against Covid,'' Minister Donnelly said. He added we have the lowest rate of Covid-19 cases in the EU.

Stephen Donnelly said the UK have their own regulator and have taken a different approach [to EU 27].

The Minister for Health said he has full confidence in the EMA.

''The UK are going a few weeks ahead of us, but that's OK,'' Minister Donnelly said.

He said Ireland's Covid-19 cases are still falling but at a lower rate.

The latest modelling suggests ''the bottom point of it'' may be sometime next week, he said.

Minister Donnelly said that point was arriving sooner than the experts expected.


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Earlier, the Tánaiste Leo Varadkar re-affirmed that the Cabinet will decide all matters related to the roll-out of Covid-19 vaccines and that the Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly would head-up the programme.

He told the Dáil that it wasn't "rocket science" to know who would be prioritised to receive the vaccine first:  those who need it most.

Mr Varadkar predicted those would be healthcare workers; residents of nursing home; older people; those with chronic diseases; as well as high-risk work environments, like meat factories.

The Labour leader Alan Kelly said there were significant questions surrounding data collection and the roll-out of the vaccine: "Are we prepared... do we need emergency legislation."

Deputy Kelly added: "We can't have conf usion with this... we need to have one person in charge."

The Tanaiste replied saying "... the government is in control."

Regarding deputy Kelly's question surrounding private companies purchasing vaccine and giving it to their workers, Mr Varadkar said the State would not want its own free-of-charge vaccine programme to be undermined.

However he felt this was "unlikely" to happen because companies will not have entered into pre-purchase deals with the vaccine producers. 

Regarding data legislation, he said the matter was under review to see if it was necessary.