DUBLIN (Reuters) – Ireland has agreed in principle to buy one million COVID-19 vaccines from Romania, an Irish government spokesman said on Friday, just days after Romania agreed to offload over 1 million excess shots to fellow EU member Denmark.
Supplies are far outstripping demand for COVID-19 shots in Romania, where vaccine hesitancy is spreading as a result of entrenched distrust of state institutions, misinformation campaigns and lack of public awareness. Ireland has one of the highest rates of vaccine uptake in Europe. Almost 45% of its 3.8 million adult population have been fully vaccinated and 65% have received their first of two doses.
The government hopes its decision to speed up vaccinating younger people will slow the spread of the extremely contagious Delta variant of the coronavirus and resume a delayed reopening of the economy.
“The Taoiseach (prime minister) had a good discussion this morning with his EU counterpart, Romanian President Klaus Iohannis, and they agreed in principle to the purchase of one million vaccines,” a spokesman for Irish Prime Minister Micheál Martin said.
“This process is continuing and is yet to be completed.”