Pharmaceutical giant Pfizer will begin producing a component of its COVID vaccine in Ireland later this year, an announcement being welcomed by Ireland's top politicians.
"Pfizer is to invest some $40M in the expansion of the Grange Castle site to allow for the extra production that will be part of the global Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine supply chain network, contributing to the worldwide supply of the vaccine," IDA Ireland said in a statement
"75 new roles are to be created as a result."
RTÉ reports that Pfizer said in a statement: "Pfizer's Grange Castle facility will produce mRNA drug substance.
“Given the extensive technical transfer process, on-site development, equipment installation, and regulatory approvals needed for the sites, we expect both facilities will be brought onto the network by the end of 2021."
The news was first reported by Irish news site The Currency and was later confirmed by Pfizer on Wednesday.
Confirmed – Pfizer announces Covid-19 vaccine production in Dublin https://t.co/yUyYjSxOvG— The Currency (@thecurrency) May 19, 2021
Dr. Paul Duffy, the Vice President of Pfizer Global Supply, said: “This is a very significant moment for Ireland and for our Grange Castle site.
“We are immensely proud to be able to play a part in manufacturing Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine.
Dr. Duffy added: “Since last year, Pfizer in partnership with BioNTech has worked tirelessly to expedite the development, approval, and scale-up of our COVID-19 vaccine.
"The company has continually expanded manufacturing capability and external partnerships to deliver increased doses to the world to help defeat this devastating pandemic.”
Irish government officials welcomed the news.
Taoiseach Micheál Martin said the move will put "Ireland at the heart of the EU's fight against the pandemic."
Not only will the $40m investment create 75 new jobs at Grange Castle in Dublin – it also puts Ireland at the heart of the EU’s fight against the pandemic.— Micheál Martin (@MichealMartinTD) May 19, 2021
The Taoiseach further said: "This is a historic announcement, which builds on the extraordinary success story of Pfizer’s over 50-year manufacturing presence here in Ireland.
"As we rapidly step up vaccine roll-out, in Ireland, in Europe, and across the globe, today’s news is a fantastic development that will see Ireland fully play its part in this generational challenge.”
Tanaiste Leo Varadkar, Ireland’s Minister for Business, said the move is a real “vote of confidence” for Ireland:
Fantastic news. @Pfizer has decided to produce components for its life saving vaccines in Dublin, creating 75 new jobs next year. A real vote of confidence in Ireland— Leo Varadkar (@LeoVaradkar) May 19, 2021
Varadkar additionally said: "These vaccines have saved countless lives and I’m really happy Pfizer has chosen to produce components of them here.”
Stephen Donnelly, Ireland's Minister for Health, said it was "great news."
Great news that @Pfizer_Ireland will soon begin production of #CovidVaccines here. Putting Ireland at the heart of the EU’s fight against the pandemic.https://t.co/hi0EdqbonQ pic.twitter.com/EyZ5ipuf6z— Stephen Donnelly (@DonnellyStephen) May 19, 2021
In November, Pfizer announced a €300 million investment for further development of existing Irish manufacturing sites in Grange Castle in Dublin, Newbridge in Kildare, and Ringaskiddy in Cork.
A week after that announcement, Pfizer revealed that its COVID vaccine "was found to be more than 90% effective in preventing COVID-19 in participants without evidence of prior SARS-CoV-2 infection in the first interim efficacy analysis.”
In December 2020, the Pfizer / BioNTech COVID vaccine was the first vaccine of its kind to receive emergency authorization from the European Medicines Agency (EMA). The first doses of the vaccine arrived in the Republic of Ireland on December 26, St. Stephen's Day.
On December 29, 79-year-old Annie Lynch became the first person in the Republic of Ireland to receive a COVID vaccination jab.
According to the latest available data from Ireland's Department of Health, which is from May 11 due to the cyber attack on HSE's IT systems, 1,922,913 vaccine doses have so far been administered in the Republic of Ireland. 1.3 million of those doses are the Pfizer / BioNTech vaccine.