The entrance to the Pfizer plant in Newbridge / PHOTO: AISHLING CONWAY
Pfizer's decision to vaccinate close family members of employees could see thousands of people in Co Kildare vaccinated as soon as next month.
The pharma giant insisted the plan will not impact the national supplies to be delivered by the company as part of the Government's national vaccine roll-out.
There are close to 1,000 staff based at Pfizer's plant in Newbridge and each worker will be allowed to offer the jab to a spouse, parents, grandparents and children over 16 years of age.
Some employees may have up to 12 people who qualify under the strict definitions of immediate family or household members.
The scheme could see thousands of people vaccinated in the home areas of employees in Newbridge and surrounding towns and villages.
This will also give a much needed boost to the Government's vaccination programme.
Immediate family and household members are defined by Pfizer as:
- Parents and parents-in-law
- Spouse or partner
- Children 16 years of age or older
- Any other family members in household
- A carer who regularly comes into the household
The scheme does not include childminders, siblings of employees, extended relatives, neighbours or friends.
There are 4,000 workers across Pfizer's five sites in Ireland.
A Pfizer spokesperson told RTE it is not yet known how many people will be vaccinated under the move but said it would be in the thousands.
The scheme, scheduled to begin in May, will start with those aged over 60s among the family or household members.
The roll-out of the vaccines will be operated and financed by Pfizer and take place at three sites including Newbridge.
An online registration system will be set up and jabs will be administered during office hours.
Earlier this year, staff that were deemed essential by the company were vaccinated.