Dáil debates

Thursday, 1 April 2021

Vaccination Programme and Covid-19: Statements


11:10 am

Sorca Clarke (Longford-Westmeath, Sinn Fein) | Oireachtas source

The Government's decision to dramatically alter the vaccine roll-out overnight has caused an unforgivable amount of concern and anxiety for workers who last week were classed as essential or front line. I have spoken to teachers, gardaí, prison officers, retail workers and other essential front-line staff who are beyond angry over these changes. Has the Minister at least arranged to meet and speak with their representative bodies?

Members of our Defence Forces also need assurances and the Minister needs to be explicitly clear. Will all members of the Defence Forces due for deployment be vaccinated before they leave for overseas service? Assurance were given by the Minister for Defence a few short weeks ago that this would happen. Is that assurance now defunct or will it be honoured?

Some vaccination centres in my constituency, Longford-Westmeath, are a considerable distance outside town centres. I ask that an agreement be reached with all transport providers to ensure that those with mobility issues or who do not have access to transport can be facilitated. I have been told that a range of transport options are being examined. What are those options? When will a decision be made?

On the move to age-based qualifying criteria for vaccination, under this new approach, at what age group can we expect to see further easing of restrictions and reopening of services?

Will it be when all those over 70 years are vaccinated, or all those over 60 or 50 are vaccinated? Who will make that decision and when?


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