Photo credit: Irish Department of Health

NPHET considers extra freedoms for vaccinated people

The National Public Health Emergency Team (NPHET) has said it will consider whether vaccinated people should be given back additional freedoms sooner than those people who are unvaccinated.

Dr. Ronan Glynn said NPHET is looking at the idea of “vaccine bonus” freedoms being given to people inoculated against Covid-19, some of which might allow them to visit nursing homes and meet in large groups.

“We will be considering it further in the context of the advice that we give to Government going into what will hopefully be the next easing of measures.

“Obviously, we are looking specifically at the issue of nursing home visitations this week, so again, I’m hopeful that over the coming weeks we will start to be able to tell people what the bonus from vaccination is and what it means you can or can’t do,” Dr Glynn said.

Taoiseach Micheál Martin had last week expressed his opposition to allowing vaccinated people additional freedoms compared to the general population, but NPHET’s openness to the idea might yet prompt a reversal within Cabinet.

He did confirm however that vaccinated people will be issued with a certificate that might, “over time”, develop into a vaccine passport system for the EU.

“Over time, whether it evolves into something greater than that remains to be seen,” Mr Martin added.

“The WHO wants it as a health passport, not as a passport to travel or anything, so that’s a debate that’s yet to be had.”

Speaking on RTÉ’s Morning Ireland, the HSE’s infection control expert Professor Martin Cormican said vaccinated people should refrain from unnecessary travel for now.

“We’re saying ‘hold on’, we’re not quite there yet where they can do more things,” he explained.

There is still “a fair amount” of transmission in the community he claimed, and conceded that the vaccine was not going to offer the perfect solution.

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