Wednesday, 10 November 2021
Nithe i dtosach suíonna - Commencement Matters
I do not disagree with anything the Senator said. Every decision taken by this and the previous Government was to protect people's health and to ensure they could be kept as safe as possible. I know the Government had to make tough decisions. The difference is we have vaccination and booster programmes now, along with the digital Covid certificates.
I will try to get data on first doses given since 19 October and I am sure it will be easy enough to get. I take on board the Senator's point relating to photo identification being part of the certificate and I will pass it on. It is only by coming into the Dáil and Seanad that we hear suggestions and that is a good one.
We started the booster roll-out four weeks ago for those aged over 80 and in long-term residential care facilities. Already in the past two weeks we have seen a fall in the number of people in nursing homes contracting Covid-19 because of the booster shot. It is certainly working. Of all breakouts in nursing homes in the past four months, 83% have comprised five people or fewer. That is heartening as previously they could have involved up to 40 staff and members of the community. There is no doubt the data indicate the booster shot is working. I am glad the decision was made that our front-line workers will also receive it now. As far as I am concerned, that cannot happen fast enough. I thank the Senator for his constructive approach.