Thursday, 1 April 2021
Ceisteanna ar Reachtaíocht a Gealladh - Questions on Promised Legislation
Leo Varadkar (Dublin West, Fine Gael)
I absolutely acknowledge that there are many people who are annoyed or disappointed because they felt they were going to be prioritised for vaccination. Whether it was an assumption or an assurance they were given, many people believed they were going to be prioritised. It did not only apply to gardaí or teachers. The list mentioned by the Deputy could probably extend to hundreds of thousands of people who believed they would be prioritised. However, we have to do what is best for society as a whole. The advice from the national immunisation advisory committee, NIAC, the National Public Health Emergency Team, NPHET, doctors, experts and scientists is clear. It is that a profession-based approach would be slower, would mean opening up society more slowly, would be more complicated to implement and, crucially, would be wrong in terms of medical ethics. This is because people in their 50s and 60s, regardless of their profession, are at more risk than people in their 30s and 40s. That is why we have to prioritise people in their 50s and 60s using an aged-based cohort, just like what is being done in Northern Ireland.