Fianna Fáil TD for Cavan Monaghan, Brendan Smith has called on the European Commission to provide clear answers on a range of issues relating to the vaccine rollout, including details on deals made with pharmaceutical companies. 

Speaking in the Dáil, ahead of a meeting of the European Council this week, Deputy Brendan Smith commented, “The European Commission has questions to answer at the highest level. When did it commence its purchasing and procurement programme and what is its strategy? Why were agreements to deliver to the EU first not made with pharmaceutical companies?  

“Some of these companies have shown very bad faith in the way in which they have dealt with Europe so far. Another question which needs to be answered or addressed is whether the EU has facilitated or, more importantly, ensured increased manufacturing capacity for these pharmaceutical products? Everything points to the world facing different variants of this virus for some time to come. We need short-term and medium-term planning to deal with Covid-19.” 

Deputy Smith stated that EU citizens deserve to get their “fair share of vaccines”. 

He explained: “The EU cannot be accused of vaccine nationalism while it has allowed massive exports of vaccines to outside countries. Indeed, it is preferable and essential to ensure the EU gets at least its fair share of vaccines. I fully appreciate that, as the Taoiseach has said, supply chains have to be protected. I do not believe in trade disruption.  

“Nobody benefits from it and the most vulnerable suffer the most. However, I also believe that we, as EU citizens, need to get the best possible protection from this deadly virus. We therefore need our leaders at EU level to ensure an adequate supply of vaccine and that the vaccine programme is given impetus and is rolled out more quickly. All of us have spoken to constituents who have had the vaccine administered to them. We have seen how much it has changed their lives and outlooks.”