Trinity Professor Luke O’Neill has said that although not all citizens will be forced to accept a Covid-19 vaccine, travel might only be allowed for those who have been vaccinated.

The biochemistry expert told the Ray D’Arcy Show that it might not be possible to mandate a total-population vaccination, but that large swathes of the population could be vaccinated by making it essential for travel.

O’Neill warned listeners to be “careful” about the news that Pfizer had found a vaccine that was 90% effective, saying it would take “two weeks” to know if the injection is safe.

“You may remember other trials were stopped. This one (on the Pfizer vaccine) wasn’t stopped, so that’s a good sign,” he claimed.

Addressing what he called “vaccine hesitancy” among people who fear side-effects from the injection, O’Neill said Ireland would need to vaccinate 70% of the population “to make sure we can beat this virus.”

“57% said they would take it…we need to be clever with this one I think. It is new and there will be anxieties, you know.

“If the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) in America…and the EMA in Europe, if they both sign off on this vaccine, everybody should take it, that’s the bottom line…”

O’Neill said every nursing home would initially be given vaccines, along with healthcare workers and the older population in general, “and then gradually we role it out more generally.”

Asked if he would be in favour of the vaccine being mandatory, O’Neill said “that’s a tricky one.”

“What they’ve done in the past: you don’t make it against the law, you exclude people. So one prediction here is that you cannot travel unless you have the vaccine, and that would incentivise people. That’s a better way to do it,” O’Neill claimed.