Thursday, 1 April 2021
Vaccination Programme and Covid-19: Statements
I thank the Minister. I want to speak up for and ask questions on behalf of the hundreds of teachers who have contacted my office over the past couple of days. They are looking for a greater explanation for the reasoning behind the change to the vaccine roll-out programme and their removal from the cohort of key workers. They have some very fair requests. Their main request is simple, namely that after all those with underlying health conditions are dealt with, they be included among the category 9 cohort of those working in crowded workplaces. It is quite clear that teachers right across Ireland are working in crowded workplaces. Their class sizes are among the highest in Europe. They are working in circumstances where social distancing is quite difficult. I refer in particular to special needs assistants who, because of the nature of their work and how they assist their students, will always require an element of close contact. All those who have contacted me are asking for — it is quite a fair request — is that they be considered to be in the bracket containing those working in crowded workplaces. They are looking for an explanation and answers. Can they be considered to be in the bracket? If not, why?