Wednesday, 20 January 2021

Questions (627, 662)

Mick Barry

Question:

627. Deputy Mick Barry asked the Minister for Health if persons who can certify that they have received the full Covid-19 vaccination will need to comply with the regulations relating to restricting their movements when entering the State from abroad; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [2765/21]

View answer

Cathal Crowe

Question:

662. Deputy Cathal Crowe asked the Minister for Health if access to services such as education, welfare and so on will be restricted for those who choose not to be vaccinated against Covid-19; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [2884/21]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Health)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 627 and 662 together.

It is important to differentiate between a vaccine certificate, the purpose of which is to identify and monitor people who have been vaccinated, with the notion of an immunity passport which might exempt people from public health measures on the basis that the person is purportedly immune to SARS-CoV-2.

Vaccine certificates are required in order to keep track of which vaccine (including which batch of a vaccine) has been given to a person and on which dates. This allows for follow up and monitoring of any adverse events. The HSE is planning for the production of Vaccine certificates at part of its implementation planning for a Covid 19 vaccination programme.

Immunity passports are problematic on a number of grounds. It is not yet clear if the proposed vaccines for Covid 19 actually stop people getting the virus. It is also not clear whether the thresholds for protective immunity are the same in all groups e.g. older persons or those who are immunosuppressed. Thus, it is premature to discuss immunity passports due to the many uncertainties that still exist regarding immunity against the novel corona virus. The WHO has cautioned Governments against introducing immunity passports at this time and has advised that the focus should be on vaccine certificates.