As reported in the Irish Times, the Department of Health is preparing a new paper concerning the legal and ethical challenges posed by the implementation of mandatory vaccination against Covid-19; something NPHET is reportedly considering at present.
Minutes of a meeting of Nphet on December 16th reveal that mandatory vaccination will be considered by the team. “It was noted that the Nphet will discuss the issue of mandatory vaccination at a later date and this discussion will be facilitated by a forthcoming paper from the Department of Health on the relevant ethical and legal considerations pertaining to this topic.”
Ireland has one of the highest Covid-19 vaccination rates in Europe. More than half of Covid patients in intensive care are from about 5 per cent of adults who are unvaccinated, the Taoiseach said last week. Mandatory vaccination is under consideration in Germany and has been introduced in Italy for the over-50s.
At the same Nphet meeting, some members raised concerns about the earlier closing times. Nphet originally proposed a 5pm closing time but the Government introduced the 8pm closing time just before Christmas. It has also emerged that some members of the National Public Health Emergency Team did not agree with proposals for earlier closing times in hospitality introduced last month. Ministers are now understood to be increasingly sceptical of the measures, favouring the removal of the 8pm limit on trading hours as well as the rule of allowing only six people to a table.
In a letter to Government last week, the chief medical officer, Tony Holohan, said Ireland had not yet reached the peak of the Omicron wave. Nphet recommended that all current measures – such as the earlier closing time for pubs and restaurants and indoor events – remain in place until the end of January.
This week sees cases reach a record 26,000 per day.