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Donnelly: Government 'considering' vaccine certificates for people

Vaccine certificates could be needed for social gatherings or to go to sporting events. The Gover...
Jack Quann
Jack Quann

09.58 16 Dec 2020


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Donnelly: Government 'consider...

Donnelly: Government 'considering' vaccine certificates for people

Jack Quann
Jack Quann

09.58 16 Dec 2020


Share this article


Vaccine certificates could be needed for social gatherings or to go to sporting events.

The Government is considering introducing them as proof someone has been vaccinated against the coronavirus.

The certs are being looked at for European Union air travel, but may also be used to allow for greater attendance numbers at events.

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It comes as the European Medicines Agency (EMA) has said its meeting to decide whether to approve the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine will now take place on December 21st, having previously been scheduled for a week later.

Health Minister Stephen Donnelly told Pat Kenny this timeline could see vaccinations begin here "albeit at a low level" either shortly before or after New Year's Day.

The EMA will also meet on January 12th next to consider the Moderna vaccine.

Minister Donnelly said: "If and when we get them all, because we're locked into buying them all, we will have enough vaccinations for a little over seven million people".

"As the vaccines come in, we will be ready to vaccinate people according to the prioritisation that was agreed last week".

He also said they are still deciding what form any vaccine certificate could take.

"Some of the airlines have already floated the idea that you would need one of these vaccination certificates in order to fly".

"The answer to how exactly they might be used depends on how the vaccines perform in terms of things like transmissibility.

"What we will have very good information on is the effectiveness of the vaccine".

"What isn't yet understood is the impact on transmissibility".

He said this means a vaccination could protect the person vaccinated, but not others around them.

"Exactly how the vaccination certificates might work and might be deployed is something we're going to inform as we see the impact of the vaccine".

He also suggested the cert could be either digital or paper-based.

"When we have recommendations from the experts on the appropriate use of it then we can decide what's the easiest and most secure thing to do - in terms of is it paper-based or card-based, for example like our drivers licence, or is it a digital certificate that you might have to submit to an airline before being able to book a flight".

He added that there are no plans, as yet, to fine those who may forge a vaccine certificate.

"You can be sure if we have a vaccine certificate - it hasn't been decided - and if that vaccine certificate is to be used to gain access to certain things, then it would stand to reason that there would have to be something on a statutory footing with some enforceability behind it".

Christmas travel 'concerns'

Mr Donnelly admitted there are 'real concerns' about people coming home for Christmas - but he is relying on people's better judgement.

"I have no doubt that the people who are coming home, and the families that they are coming home to, will do the right thing".

"We are applying the same protocols and security measures as the rest of Europe - this is now an EU-wide thing."

But he said he has been struck by "overwhelming caution" people have in their Christmas plans.

"The overwhelming feedback I'm getting right across the country is that people want a safe Christmas."

Donnelly: Government 'considering' vaccine certificates for people

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Main image: A medical professional holds a syringe containing the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine and a proof of vaccine card before it is administered to a medical professional at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York, USA. Picture by: Anthony Behar/SIPA USA/PA Images

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COVID Vaccine Certificates Christmas Christmas Travel Coronavirus Vaccine Pat Kenny Stephen Donnelly Vaccine Certificates

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