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covid pass

Different treatment for those who have got booster jab would be unfair at this stage, says Martin

Micheál Martin was asked whether the Digital Covid Certificate would be updated with the booster information.

THE TAOISEACH HAS told the Dáil that it would be unfair to differentiate between people who have received the booster vaccine and those who have not when it comes to accessing services. 

Fine Gael’s Richard Bruton had asked Micheál Martin whether the Digital Covid Certificate would be updated with the booster information.

He said that “from tomorrow, France will require people over a certain age to have three doses before they participate in certain activity”, and asked whether such moves were under consideration in Ireland. 

Martin said the information around boosters will have to be updated, but at the moment, the government is focused on the booster roll out alone. 

“I don’t think it would be fair at this stage of the booster campaign to differentiate in terms of access and so on,” he said. 

He acknowledged that it is an issue that will have to be dealt with in terms of records, but said the focus and energy of the HSE right now is on the administration of the vaccine. 

Last month when asked about whether the Covid Pass that is used to give access to restaurants and bars for vaccinated people would be modified, Tánaiste Leo Varadkar said there were no plans yet to change the validity of the Covid Pass to incorporate the booster vaccine.

British prime minister Boris Johnson recently stated being fully vaccinated no longer meant having two Covid vaccine doses, but rather three doses. 

Israel now states that a person will need a third dose to become eligible for its green pass, unless you have received your second dose of the Covid-19 vaccine within the last six months. Similar to Ireland’s use of the Digital Covid Certificate or Covid Pass, the green pass allows for entry to gyms, restaurants, and other venues.

“People don’t need to be worried that they’re going to wake up one morning and hear on the news that all of a sudden their Covid pass only works if they have had three doses – that’s not under consideration at all at the moment,” said Varadkar. 

“What I’m saying is we’ve no plans to do it at all at the moment… what I am indicating is that, as we see the science emerge, and as we learn more about the vaccines and the virus, there are a lot more people who are taking the view that this is going to be a three dose primary course vaccine, and people will need a third dose to be fully vaccinated, and we’ll move away from calling it a booster towards a third dose.

“But in terms of any change to the validity of the vaccine passes, that’s not under consideration at the moment,” he said last month. 

NPHET considerations

A recent letter from Chief Medical Officer Dr Tony Holohan said that NPHET would give consideration “over the coming period to implications for the COVID Pass system arising from the COVID-19 booster programme”.

A number of senior sources have said that this is not something that is being discussed or worked on at the moment, though they noted that other countries have adopted such measures. 

If such modifications are to be made to the Covid Pass in terms of only giving people with three doses of the vaccine access to places such as restaurants and bars, such moves would be made in February or March when more people have had the opportunity to take a third dose of the vaccine, said sources. 

They said it was not under consideration in the short-term, but said that no doubt is “it is on the cards for consideration” by NPHET. 

It is understood that if and when the Digital Covid Pass needs to be updated, it would be done so by re-issuing the certificate to anyone who has received three doses of the vaccine. 


The Irish Council for Civil Liberties (ICCL) has previously spoken out about its concerns about the extension of the Covid Pass system, stating that it gives rise to serious human rights and equality concerns.

ICCL Executive Director Liam Herrick said it was meant to be a temporary system, stating that government should also provide for a negative test as a means for people who are not vaccinated to enter premises covered by the indoor regulations.

When the Covid Pass system was introduced earlier this year, the Taoiseach stated that it was a three-phased approach, with only the fully vaccinated and those who are immune being allowed access certain services.

PCR testing and antigen testing were meant to form later phases of the Covid pass – as is used in other countries – but such mechanisms were never rolled out in Ireland. 

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