Dublin, March 11 (AFP/APP): Calls grew on Thursday for the UK to share any surplus coronavirus jabs with Ireland to address the massive gulf in vaccination rollouts between the neighbouring jurisdictions.
Northern Ireland’s First Minister Arlene Foster said the lagging vaccination programme in the Republic of Ireland is “a concern” which could undermine immunity efforts in the British province she governs.
UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson should consider sharing surplus jabs to close the gap, Foster said in an interview with Belfast Live published late Wednesday.
While Northern Ireland has benefited from the UK’s speedy vaccine programme, Ireland has been tethered to an EU rollout hampered by production and supply issues. Northern Ireland — home to 1.9 million — has delivered 650,000 doses to residents, according to latest official figures.
The Republic of Ireland is lagging far behind, having delivered just 525,000 doses to a far larger population of 4.9 million. On Wednesday, Irish prime minister Micheal Martin was battered by opposition lawmakers in debates over the nation’s slow vaccine rollout.
“There is no magic tree out there that we can pick vaccines off. That is an illusion,” he said in the Dail, the country’s lower chamber of parliament.
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