Up to 4,000 employees in Ireland who work for drugs company Pfizer are to start receiving Covid vaccinations this week.
A company spokesperson confirmed key workers in their manufacturing sections at three sites would commence this week. They declined to say which day but it is understood vaccinations will start at one of their Dublin sites on Wednesday.
The company’s three manufacturing plants are located in Clondalkin in Dublin, Newbridge, Co Kildare and Ringaskiddy in Cork. Three-thousand of the overall staff numbers work in the manufacturing division.
The remaining 1,000 employees work out of City West and Ringsend in Dublin.
The European Medicines Agency (EMA) gave the green light for the Pfizer/BioNTech jab on December 21st.
The Covid vaccinations given to Pfizer employees do not form part of Ireland’s overall supply from the HSE.
Natalie Tennyson, the company’s spokesperson said: “Pfizer has begun offering on-site vaccinations against Covid-19 to its site-essential employees, for example in manufacturing, who are critical to the vaccine effort and the continued supply of all Pfizer medicines.
“Ensuring supply of our medicines and continuation of critical research and development work across therapeutic areas, including cardiovascular disease and cancer, is a priority for global health, particularly given the current burden on health systems around the world as a result of Covid-19.”
Site-essential employees are those based at the company’s manufacturing and research sites, whose presence is required at a Pfizer location to ensure supply of medicines and vaccines, the continuation of critical research and development programmes, and to maintain and keep secure their labs and buildings.
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Vaccination of site-essential employees started last week at Pfizer manufacturing sites in Kalamazoo, Michigan in the US, and Puurs, Belgium.
Ms Tennyson added: “We will expand to other Pfizer sites on a rolling basis. There are approximately 15,000 employees and contractors across Pfizer sites in the EU who are considered site-essential.
“The vaccine doses to be used for this programme are separate and distinct from those committed by Pfizer to governments around the world and will not impact supply to national governments in any way”.
Ms Tennyson would not comment on when it is hoped that all of their Irish-based employees would be vaccinated. However, it is understood the majority of employees will be vaccinated over the next two weeks.