TAOISEACH Micheal Martin expects the Johnson and Johnson Covid-19 vaccine to be authorised for Ireland in early April.
Martin said the jab, which may only require one dose rather than two, would be very important in the mass-vaccination of the Irish population.
Johnson and Johnson are expected to report results from their clinical trial next week.
The US Food and Drug administration are expected to approve the single-shot jab for use in the United States in the coming ten days.
But, the vaccine must be approved by the European Commission before it can be administered in Ireland.
Taoiseach Micheal Martin said the vaccine would be very important in Ireland’s mass vaccination efforts if the single jab is sufficient.
Speaking in the Dail, Taoiseach Martin said: “My understanding is it will be very, very, early April in terms of authorisation. If it comes earlier, that can happen too, but that’s the time as I have it right now. That may improve.
“But I do know that the European Commission’s engagement with Johnson and Johnson is a professional one and is one that they are satisfied with in terms of engagement with the company and its commitment to delivery schedules and so fourth.
“It is a very, very important development in terms of the mass vaccination of our population in no doubt.”
The update comes as AstraZeneca disrupt Irish roll-out plans by announcing they will deliver significantly less jabs than previously agreed.
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The vaccine had been key in plans to speed up vaccination in Ireland through the coming weeks and months with Health Minister Stephen Donnelly saying he was “not happy” with the news.
Donnelly added: “We are not happy with the news from AstraZeneca, they’ve announced that they intend on delivering significantly less than what was agreed with Ireland and the other EU member states.
“The numbers have not been finalised between AstraZeneca and the EU.
“We’re working very closely with our EU partners with the aim of maximising the volume of delivery as close to the agreed schedule as possible and with having the delivery arrive here as soon after authorisation as possible.”
Today, the Minister said it is an “aspiration” not a “promise” to get everyone vaccinated by September, after confirming “every citizen” would have the jab by September just last week.
Speaking with RTE’s Today with Claire Byrne this morning, the Health Minister said “it wasn’t a promise, it was heavily caveated”.
He explained: “It’s being explored, so the plan up to March 5 as we said is Level 5 measures, past March 5 is to ramp up the vaccination programme.
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“And remember, we’re doing the highest risk people first, even though we might get to 10, 20 per cent of the population, it will seriously reduce the total risk of Covid in terms of hospitalisation and death, which allows us to reopen the priority areas of healthcare, education and jobs.
“It wasn’t a promise, as you said, it was heavily caveated, I think people very reasonably said we know that the future supply is uncertain.
“But broadly, based on the conversations your having, based on when you think the vaccines will be authorised, based on the schedule of advanced purchase.”