A global summit took place virtually on Thursday to raise funds for global vaccine programmes.
More than 25 heads of state - including Taoiseach Leo Varadkar - met via a Zoom conference for the Global Vaccine Summit, which was hosted by the British government.
Mr Varadkar also pledged a 20% increase in Irish support for Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance.
Ireland is increasing its funding to Gavi to €18m over five years from 2021, to help in the global effort to develop a COVID-19 vaccine.
Overall, the summit raised US$8.8bn (€7.76bn) from 32 donor governments and 12 foundations, corporations and organisations.
This exceeded its target of US$ 7.4bn (€6.25bn).
It comes as Germany, France, Italy and the Netherlands have come together to ensure the European Union gets access to any vaccine.
However immunologist Professor Paul Moynagh told The Hard Shoulder earlier this could see Ireland left behind.
"There is a race at the moment in terms of getting access to [it], hopefully we will be successful in generating a vaccine.
"But if it is successful, the challenge then is in terms of getting access to it: first of all in terms of the companies producing enough of it, and then who's going to get priority access to it.
"It's sort of like a melting pot at the moment of politics and business and health."
"There's massive intense activity at the moment around the generation of vaccines.
"One of the vaccines that's being developed by Oxford and Oxford's now partnered with AstraZeneca - basically the US and UK government have put massive funding into this effort.
"The US has invested something like US$1.2bn... but as part of that support from the US, they've secured a third of the initial doses.
"So in response to that, some of the European countries - especially Germany, France, Italy, the Netherlands - they've come together and they've expressed concern that maybe Europe's going to miss out, and that the UK and the US and China are going to get priority access.
"So with that in mind they've forged this alliance and highlight this need for Europe to secure access to the vaccine.
"And one of the things that they've proposed is that they would be able to access this EU rainy day fund - an emergency support instrument.
"And they want to provide up to maybe €3bn to speed up negotiations with various pharmaceutical companies to secure access to European countries to the vaccine.
"So it's quite political now as well".
But he said it is unclear how any such EU initiative would be coordinated by individual member states.
"Individual member states I understand are also having negotiations with some of these companies - I'm not really sure how that effort is being coordinated and where Ireland fits in in all of that".
"I presume they are, and I presume they are aware of the four country alliance of Germany, France, Italy and the Netherlands.
"Hopefully they are aware of that, and they are part of those discussions".