Written answers

Thursday, 15 July 2021

Department of Health

Vaccination Programme

Photo of Willie O'DeaWillie O'Dea (Limerick City, Fianna Fail)
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329. To ask the Minister for Health the supports that are available to persons who have had an adverse reaction to one of the Covid-19 vaccinations as in the case of a person (details supplied); and if the persons concerned should proceed to take a second dose of the vaccine. [31917/21]

Photo of Stephen DonnellyStephen Donnelly (Wicklow, Fianna Fail)
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The Health Products Regulatory Authority (HPRA) is responsible for monitoring the safety and quality of all medicines including vaccines that are licensed in Ireland. The HPRA and the European Medicines Agency (EMA) continually monitor adverse events to vaccination.

The HPRA operates a national adverse reaction reporting system in which members of the public and healthcare professionals are encouraged to submit any suspected adverse reactions to vaccination. All reports received by the HPRA are routinely transmitted to the EMA's adverse reaction database for inclusion in global signal detection and monitoring activities.

The HPRA follows up on reports of suspected adverse reactions received from healthcare professionals and members of the public through the voluntary reporting system, including any deaths notified following vaccination.

The latest safety update from the HPRA regarding COVID-19 vaccinations is available here:


As of 9 June, 9,470 reports of suspected side effects were notified to the HPRA, in the context of 3.1 million doses of Covid-19 vaccine having been administered as of that date. It must be stressed that all vaccines have some side effects, the vast majority of which are mild to moderate in nature.

These side effects need to be balanced against the significant benefits of vaccination in preventing Covid-19 illness. The ongoing reporting conducted by the HPRA continues to provide a favourable assessment of the vaccines and that the benefits outweigh any associated risks.

As this Parliamentary Question relates to an operational issue, it is a matter for the HSE. However, members of the Oireachtas are advised that the HSE is currently unable to access the information to answer Parliamentary Questions due to the recent cyber-attack, which has required a temporary shut-down of HSE IT systems. The disruption to service is ongoing, and the HSE is working hard to restore its IT capacity and resume normal services. Members of the Oireachtas will be advised as soon as the HSE is again in a position to provide responses to PQs and are encouraged to resubmit their Parliamentary Questions at that point.

Photo of Alan FarrellAlan Farrell (Dublin Fingal, Fine Gael)
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332. To ask the Minister for Health the policy his Department will adopt for employees who opt out of the Covid-19 vaccination programme; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [31933/21]

Photo of Stephen DonnellyStephen Donnelly (Wicklow, Fianna Fail)
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Firstly, as Minster for Health, I would strongly encourage as many people as possible to register on the HSE portal for a vaccination when the facility is available to them, and to avail of their COVID-19 vaccinations when offered.

It will not automatically be known to employers if an employee has availed of or elected against participation in the COVID-19 vaccination programme, however, situations may arise where some employers need to know if an employee has been vaccinated, having regard to a distinct work context. The onus in these instances will be with each individual employer, dependent on their individual needs and requirements, and each employer will deal with these matters on a case-by-case basis accordingly.

The Department of Health will keep its own risk assessment under review on an ongoing basis to decide whether any individual employees of the Department must be vaccinated to take out their normal work tasks and if so, what other protective measures may be needed in any individual case.

The current public health advice is that all existing infection prevention and control measures, (such as physical distancing, hand hygiene, face coverings, adequate ventilation), and working from home unless an employee’s physical presence in the workplace is necessary, must also remain in place for individuals even following their vaccination. The Department's employees continue to work from home unless their attendance on-site is necessary. In line with other civil service employers, this will be kept under review depending on the prevailing public health advice.


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