Jack Quann
Jack Quann

11.01 8 Apr 2021


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The Health Minister Stephen Donnelly has said there are 'no proposals' in Government for the introduction of vaccination certificates.

It follows reports that such plans could be brought in for vaccinated people to attend concerts, matches and restaurants.

While the European Union is working on a similar model to allow for international travel.

Minister Donnelly told Pat Kenny Ireland could introduce both.

"The green passport or the green certificate that the EU is talking about is to do with travel within the single market.

"There's a system being developed whereby, right across the EU, you would be able to verify that you have been vaccinated and that you're fully vaccinated.

"There would be systems put in place such that someone in Ireland who is arriving in Berlin - or wherever it is - that there is inter-country recognition and verification of vaccination.

"At the same time I'm very open to suggestions around how, if it is advised by public health that there are things you can do if you're vaccinated... I think you and I might have talked previously, Pat, about a pilot they did in Israel - whereby people who could verify that they were vaccinated could go to an open air concert.

"There are no proposals on the table, by the way, for that - but I'm certainly open to those possibilities."

On the use of AstraZeneca, Minister Donnelly said advice will come from the National Immunisation Advisory Committee (NIAC) within days.

It comes after the European Medicines Agency (EMA) confirmed that the AstraZeneca vaccine can lead to blood clots in "very rare cases."

The regulator noted that the benefits of the vaccine outweigh the risk of any side effects.

Minister Donnelly said: "NIAC is meeting this morning - we had a very good meeting yesterday, the EMA's safety committee met yesterday.

"They have reiterated their support for the vaccine... they haven't given any specific guidance on age restrictions, that's something that each member state looks at.

"So NIAC is looking at that this morning, and we expect to hear more in the next day or two on that.

"We're certainly very open to the advice that comes in from NIAC".

'Completely unacceptable' situations

He added that reports that board members at the Mater Hospital were offered a COVID-19 vaccine are "completely unacceptable".

It is understood that some board members accepted the offer and were vaccinated.

Minister Donnelly said: "The [vaccination] programme is going well.

"One of the big metrics that is being looked at is the percentage of the over-80s that are vaccinated.

"In the European Union, Ireland has the highest rate of over-80s vaccinated - we're also one of the only countries that was targeting all of our frontline healthcare workers as well.

"So the programme at the big, national level has been and continues to be very successful.

"It's not perfect, obviously, there are issues - but when you compare to the rest of the European Union, we're doing really well.

"And then... we have these completely unacceptable situations with the board of the Mater, for example, with Beacon Hospital, for example, schools in south Dublin/north Wicklow CHO.

"They're a tiny, tiny fraction of the million doses that will be administered - but they do undermine confidence".

    

Main image: Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly speaking to media as he arrives at Government Buildings for a Cabinet meeting. Picture by: Sasko Lazarov / RollingNews.ie

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