VAT rates in Ireland are subject to the constraints of EU VAT law. In general, the EU VAT Directive provides that the standard VAT rate - 23% in Ireland - must apply to the majority of goods and services. Lower VAT rates may only apply where expressly provided for in the VAT Directive or where an historic derogation applies. One such historical derogation that applies to Ireland under Article 110 of the VAT Directive is the application of the zero rate of VAT to goods and services which were subject to the zero rate of VAT on and from 1 January 1991. Oral medicines apply at the zero rate of VAT on this basis and in this respect orally consumed vaccinations avail of the zero rate of VAT.
Other non-oral vaccination, including injections, were not zero-rated on 1 January 1991 and as such a zero rate cannot now be applied to their supply. Furthermore, as there is no express provision in the VAT Directive for a lower VAT rate to be applied to vaccinations or injections, the only VAT rate that can apply to them is the standard VAT rate.