Britain is planning to send a large number of vaccines to the Republic of Ireland to help the country deal with its vaccination drive.
With the Republic falling far behind the rest of the UK as well as Northern Ireland, the risk of a cross-border wave of infections has led UK ministers to draw up a plan to provide Ireland with enough jabs for the whole population.
Following the EU’s disastrous rollout of vaccines, and an ongoing feud with Astrazeneca, Ireland has vaccinated 3x less people than Northern Ireland by comparison. Due to cross border trade between the Republic and Northern Ireland, there is concern that without resolving Ireland’s vaccine woes, Northern Ireland could face a substantially higher infection rate.
Northern Ireland’s First Minister Arelene Foster has backed the plan and believes the UK government will make the offer to Ireland once the most vulnerable groups have received their doses in the UK.
There are also fears in the UK that a third wave of infections across Europe could lead to significant economic damage to the UK with international travellers bringing back new variants of Covid, and is putting in plans to provide additional vaccines to Germany and France in order to help the EU gain some momentum. While the subject of vaccines remains highly political, the UK is seeking to find common ground with the EU as the pandemic is affecting all countries, with a desire to solve the problem internationally, and through the COVAX programme.