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Wednesday, January 26, 2022

Mandatory vaccinations to be discussed by NPHET while legal and ethical paper is prepared by Department of Health

The National Public Health Emergency Team (NPHET) will be discussing mandatory vaccinations while the Department of Health prepares a legal and ethical paper before the discussions take place. It has been noted that NPHET will be discussing the possibility of introducing mandatory vaccinations to Ireland.

During a meeting held by NPHET on the 16th of December, they stated that they would be discussing the issues of mandatory vaccinations at a later date when the Department of Health facilitates a paper that will highlight the relevant ethical and legal considerations from the topic.

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With mandatory vaccines being considered for France and Austria, Taoiseach Micheál Martin has previously expressed opposition towards the idea of a vaccine mandate and that he was more inclined to suggest a voluntary approach. Although acknowledging that unvaccinated individuals take up a disproportionate element of the health service, Martin stated that we should keep going with the approach that we have adopted so far where vaccinations are voluntary.

“In my view, I think we have to keep pushing the voluntary approach.”

It was revealed during NPHET’s December minutes that of the 1,272 Covid-19 cases that were hospitalised in November, 281 were unvaccinated which accounted for 22% of cases while 956 were vaccinated which accounted for 75% of cases, prompting concerns that unvaccinated individuals were being hospitalised in vaster quantities than vaccinated individuals. Consisting of 5% of the eligible population, unvaccinated individuals account for over 50% of ICU cases as well.

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Mandatory vaccinations have been the subject of controversy as countries’ vaccine programmes continue to get under way. They are being suggested by some leaders in an attempt to stop the so-called pandemic of the unvaccinated with French President Emmanuel Macron being subject to fierce backlash after passing comments relating to unvaccinated individuals, saying that he wants to “piss off” people who refrain from getting vaccinated annoy them by stopping from eating out, using trains or attending cultural events.

A similar situation has unfolded in Austria where vaccinations will also be made mandatory for all residents over the age of 14 years old from February in response to vaccine hesitation with 73.7% of its population now fully vaccinated. In both countries, protests emerged in response to the mandates, which were more significant than previous Covid-19-related protests, with over 100,000 people rallying in France and over 40,000 rallying in the Austrian capital of Vienna.

In Germany, a similar law is being suggested where vaccines would be made mandatory which also sparked protests across the country, with the largest event being held in Hamburg where approximately 16,000 people had attended, according to police.

Although nothing is set in stone yet for Ireland, health officials have grown concerned over the surge in cases that Ireland has been experiencing lately driven by the Omicron variant with 21,384 cases being reported as of 8am this morning. Although highly transmissible, current data reveals that it’s not as detrimental as other variants with regards to hospitalisation, severe illness and death.

It’s uncertain as to whether a mandate will be implemented in Ireland, however, the political tone does not seem too welcoming to the idea when the Taoiseach’s comments are taken into consideration.

IMAGE – PA Images

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Mandatory vaccinations to be discussed by NPHET while legal and ethical paper is prepared by Department of Health

The National Public Health Emergency Team (NPHET) will be discussing mandatory vaccinations while the Department of Health prepares a legal and ethical...
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