Wexford TD Verona Murphy has insisted she is not anti-vaccine, after the Health Minister yesterday accused her of spreading 'false information' about COVID-19 vaccines in the Dáil.
The independent TD says it's "very dangerous" for the Government to be labelling "reasonable TDs" as anti-vaccine for disagreeing with the Government's current COVID policy.
During the Dáil debate yesterday, Deputy Murphy criticised the "constant scapegoating of the unvaccinated" - claiming it was "very discriminatory and sinister".
She suggested "recent studies have shown that a vaccinated person is every bit as likely to transmit this virus as a non-vaccinated person".
This prompted Minister Stephen Donnelly to state "that information is false".
He said: "It is really important that Members of Parliament do not spread anti-vaccine information like this in the Chamber."
Speaking on The Pat Kenny Show today, Deputy Murphy says she wasn't able to finish her speech in the Dáil as she was "interrupted" by Minister Donnelly.
She said: “Let me be very clear: I am not anti-vax.
"I am fully vaccinated - I believe very much in vaccination. But what I also believe in is choice.”
The Wexford TD said her vaccine data came from a recent Lancet study, which concluded that "fully vaccinated individuals with breakthrough infections have peak viral load similar to unvaccinated cases".
Deputy Murphy said it's "absolutely right" that studies have indicated that double vaccination helps people get rid of that viral load quickly.
However, she said studies also show that more action is needed than just vaccines alone.
She told Pat: “The goal here is to minimise transmission. And the reality is there is a whole suite of measures Government should introduce to support those who are vaccinated.
“Ultimately, we have seen now that Government has put all the eggs into the vaccination basket. We do not have widespread antigen testing.”
"A very dangerous narrative"
Deputy Murphy insisted she doesn’t want to see vaccine passports done away with - but argued it does not prove someone is not infectious.
As a result, she “100%” believes vaccinated people should be doing an antigen test before meeting vulnerable people in the likes of nursing homes.
She said: “What disturbs me about the Minister’s intervention yesterday… it’s a very dangerous narrative they’re trying to develop, whereby an opposing view immediately gets branded as anti-vax… that you’re basically right-wing.
“I think that’s a very dangerous position to be putting reasonable TDs, such as Catherine Connolly and Michael McNamara… who are voicing their opposition based on a democratic process.
“The COVID cert tells you you’re vaccinated, but we now know you can still spread the virus. The antigen test would be so much more effective at the point in time in which you do it."
She said it's also "ridiculous" that rapid tests are only being posted to people who've been identified as close contacts of a confirmed case.
She suggested Ireland should instead follow the UK’s example and post “at least” ten free antigen tests to every home.
It comes as Professor of Immunology Christine Loscher today said antigen tests should be freely available to households across Ireland to combat the surge in COVID cases.