Pfizer's announcement that it's to start manufacturing COVID-19 vaccine components in Dublin has been welcomed as "great news" for Ireland.
€32 million will be invested in the company's Grange Castle facility to expand its manufacturing capability, with production set to begin by the end of the year.
The pharmaceutical company will hire 75 additional staff to assist in the development of mRNA drug substance for the Pfizer / BioNTech jab.
The components produced in Grange Castle will then be supplied to countries across the world.
In a statement, Pfizer's Dr Paul Duffy 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."
The news has been welcomed by senior ministers, with the Taoiseach saying it "puts Ireland at the heart of the EU's fight against the pandemic".
Great news that @Pfizer_Ireland will soon begin production of #CovidVaccines here in Ireland.
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
Bernard Mallee from the Irish Pharmaceutical Healthcare Association spoke to The Hard Shoulder about today's announcement.
He said: “[It's a] fantastic announcement today - not just for Pfizer, but for Ireland in general.
“This now puts us into the COVID-19 vaccine supply chain network… a really important milestone for the pandemic response and the [pharmaceutical] industry in Ireland.”
The Grange Castle site already makes medicines for different illnesses, but Mr Mallee said the update of the site will take a lot of “time and expertise”.
He explained: “To start production of a manufacturing site from scratch can take a few hundred million dollars.
"But if you’re upgrading an existing vaccine production site to make COVID-19 vaccines, that’s a different story - it takes a lot less money, but it’s still expensive.”