Booster certs will eventually be needed to access bars and restaurants, the Taoiseach has confirmed.
Under new rules adopted by the European Commission last month, the EU Digital COVID-19 Certificate will soon only be valid for nine months.
The rules only apply to international and, speaking at the time, the Tánaiste Leo Varadkar said the Government had not considered applying them domestically.
Currently, booster doses are not recorded on COVID certs; however, the Government this afternoon confirmed that they will be updated in the coming weeks.
Good news with regard to the EU Digital Covid Cert. In line with EU commitments, the certs will be updated to reflect third doses, by January 15th.
— Alan Farrell TD (@AlanFarrell) January 5, 2022
Speaking after this morning’s Cabinet meeting, the Taoiseach said boosters would eventually be needed to enter bars and restaurants.
“In the fullness of time, yes, I think, but not shorter than that,” he said. “The HSE are now working on including the booster within the vaccine record and cert.”
“Now Government decisions will have to be taken then in terms of the policy implication of that, but it is very clear to us that the benefits of the booster are very significant right now in preventing infection but above all in preventing severe illness from Omicron.”
Several other EU countries have already placed expiry dates on COVID certs for hospitality.
In Italy, COVID certs are only valid for nine months while in France, they are only valid for seven months in people over the age of 65.
France plans to extend that rule to people of all ages by January 15th.
While booster shots are known to protect against COVID-19 hospitalisation and severe disease, there is less data supporting their effectiveness in reducing transmission.
In September, researchers in Israel found that a third dose of Pfizer reduced infection among people aged over 60 by a factor of 11.3.
Meanwhile, a study published in the Lancet at the end of October found that vaccinated people who catch the virus are just as infectious as unvaccinated people – although they remain so for a shorter period of time.
The study notes that vaccinated people are less likely to pick up the virus in the first place – and vaccines continue to be highly effective at preventing severe hospitalisation and death.