Ireland has joined the WHO programme which seeks fair distribution of future Covid-19 vaccine

Ireland is among 156 countries that have joined a programme backed by the World Health Organization, which aims to ensure the fair distribution of any future vaccine against Covid-19.

The WHO has in co-ordination with the global vaccine alliance group GAVI and the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) created a mechanism aimed at ensuring a more equitable distribution of any future vaccines.

The COVAX scheme hopes to acquire two billion doses of safe and effective vaccines by the end of 2021, with healthcare workers prioritised initially and then the most vulnerable 20% of people in every participating country, regardless of income level.

Ireland is one of 27 EU member states, plus Norway and Iceland, that is taking part in the programme.