Tánaiste Leo Varadkar has said that Ireland would be happy to buy extra vaccines from the UK if they were available, but that by the time the UK had a surplus Ireland would also have a surplus.
At present the UK does not have a surplus, he told Newstalk Breakfast. “I think by the time they have a surplus we will have one too. We have 18 million doses ordered. We will have enough vaccines to vaccinate the entire population twice over.
“The chances are that, by the time they have a surplus, we will have one too and it is going to be more a case of what we do in terms of helping out less developed countries in the western Balkans and in the developing world, at that point, with our surplus.”
Mr Varadkar said he could not promise that this would be the last lockdown. “That is certainly our intention and our plan, but nobody can promise that. Even when everyone who wants to be vaccinated is vaccinated, let’s say in August or September, the virus is not necessarily going to go away.”
There was always going to be some place in the world where the virus was transmitting, he said. The difference would be that with vaccinations and better treatments it could be better managed with no need for further lockdowns.
“But the promise that there won’t be fourth wave or a fourth lockdown is not something I think anyone can promise unfortunately.”
Speaking earlier, Mr Varadkar defended the Government’s “differentiated” approach to mandatory quarantine.
“Why would you put someone from the Isle of Man into hotel quarantine when there is no Covid there?” he said on RTÉ radio’s Morning Ireland.
It did not make sense to treat South Africa the same as Iceland, he added. By the summer there could be “travel bubbles” with some countries that were safe.
Mr Varadkar said he understood people were anxious, depressed, fatigued and that it was difficult to stay positive. But the virus was in retreat and the number of new cases was down considerably which was because of what people were doing.