13 March 2021
By Bryan Smyth
Tens of millions of AstraZeneca vaccines stockpiled in Ohio and Maryland facilities
“An Taoiseach, Micheál Martin must raise the issue of the United States sharing their stockpiled AstraZeneca vaccines at next week’s St. Patrick’s Day meeting between him and US President, Joe Biden,” said Fianna Fáil MEP, Billy Kelleher.
Kelleher was commenting after reports in the media suggested that at least 30 million doses of the vaccine is sitting in freezers in AstraZeneca’s facility in West Chester, Ohio. Additionally, enough vaccine has been produced at Emergent BioSolutions, a company contracted by AstraZeneca, in Maryland to deliver tens of millions more doses if given the go-ahead.
“I’ve written to An Taoiseach requesting that this issue be raised with President Biden next week. These vaccines all have a limited shelf life, and with the FDA having not authorised AstraZeneca’s use in the US, they need to be used somewhere and soon.
“This is an opportunity that cannot be missed or ignored. It’s too important not to at least try.
“The Irish Government shouldn’t be shy about asking one of our oldest allies and a US President who is incredibly proud of his Irish heritage that when a decision is made to share them with the world, that Ireland is top of the list.
“Just one million doses would be transformative for the vaccine programme in Ireland, and it needs to be on the agenda next week.
“Separately, I have written to President Biden requesting that he review and relax the export bans currently in place in the United States. This is incredibly important as the EU seeks to secure the vaccines it is owed by the pharmaceutical companies.
“The Taoiseach advocating on behalf of the Irish people, especially when it comes to saving lives is always the right thing to do,” concluded Kelleher.