Covid-19 vaccines could be approved as early as the second half of December, Taoiseach Micheál Martin has revealed.
The vaccines could be a Christmas present for the country in 2021, Mr Martin said, while a task force is already working on the logistics of a roll-out next year.
Moderna and Pfizer revealed promising results this month from Covid-19 vaccine trials, with both proving to be 95% effective.
Speaking to Virgin Media News, the Taoiseach said is likely that a vaccine will be authorised by the European Commission before Christmas.
“The President of the European Commission is now saying that it could be the second half of December when they get authorisation for the Pfizer and BioNTech and Moderna, which could mean for the early part of 2021 that we are in a position to start procuring the vaccine.
“I have set up a high level task force to go through the logistics of this because this will be a very big operation logistically in the country. It could change the situation significantly for the better,” the Taoiseach said.
Mr Martin said Ireland may not be ready to deliver the vaccine before Christmas, but it will be ” a wonderful Christmas present in the sense of a voucher for the next 12 months”.
The Taoiseach has called on the public to double down on efforts to “keep the virus under pressure” until a vaccine is delivered.
He said: “Rather than taking it easy, we should say another while now if we keep at this, the vaccine will come on stream soon and we will be in a much better position as a society as a result.”