Written answers

Thursday, 6 May 2021

Photo of Seán CanneySeán Canney (Galway East, Independent)
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206. To ask the Minister for Health if persons travelling from the United Arab Emirates will be required to quarantine if their vaccine is not EMA approved. [23454/21]

Photo of Stephen DonnellyStephen Donnelly (Wicklow, Fianna Fail)
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Mandatory hotel quarantine has been introduced as one element of Ireland’s public health measures to combat the transmission of COVID-19 variants of concern.

The Health Act 1947, as amended, provides that all persons arriving in Ireland from a designated state, or having travelled through a designated state in the previous 14 days, are required to undergo mandatory quarantine in a designated facility unless they are an exempted traveller under the Act. All applicable travellers must reserve and pay for a place in mandatory hotel quarantine.

The Health (Amendment) Act 2021 identifies those who are exempt from mandatory hotel quarantine and a full list of exemptions can be accessed on gov.ie/quarantine.

The provisions of the Act also allow for travellers to request a review of decisions relating to their quarantine; however this can only be undertaken once quarantine has begun.

The Government continues to evaluate wider policy on international travel as informed by the epidemiological situation and public health advice.

As of 17th April, passengers who are fully vaccinated and have the documents to confirm this are no longer required to complete mandatory hotel quarantine on arrival in Ireland. Dependents, including children, will also be exempted from the requirement to complete mandatory hotel quarantine in this instance.

Please note that the 4 EMA approved vaccines currently accepted have specific definitions for when a person would be considered fully vaccinated.

The following table sets out the definition of ‘fully vaccinated’.

Type of Vaccine You are regarded as fully vaccinated after
Pfizer-BioNtech 7 days after 2nd dose
Moderna 14 days after 2nd dose
Oxford-AstraZeneca, also known as Covishield 15 days after 2nd dose
Johnson & Johnson/Janssen 14 days after single dose

Passengers who are fully vaccinated and exempt from hotel quarantine are still subject to other travel restrictions, such as the need to provide a negative pre-departure PCR test and complete a period of self-quarantine at home or wherever specified in their passenger locator form.

Covid 19 vaccines can only be approved and used if they comply with all the requirements of quality, safety and efficacy set out in the EU pharmaceutical legislation. No vaccine will be used until Market Authorisation from the European Medicines Agency (EMA) is obtained and any authorised vaccine will be subject to ongoing monitoring in Ireland by the Health Product Regulatory Authority (HPRA).

At present, neither the Sinopharm or Gam-COVID-Vac Covid-19 vaccines have received EMA approval.

Neither I as Minister for Health nor my Department have a role in decisions relating to whether individual persons must enter mandatory quarantine or whether individual persons are exempted travellers. All such decisions are to be determined in accordance with the provisions of the Act.

The Government continues to advise against all non-essential international travel.


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