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Taoiseach says he is willing to publicly receive Covid-19 vaccine, but not as 'some sort of PR opportunity'

US president-elect Joe Biden said he would be willing to be vaccinated in public after a vaccine is approved.

File image of Taoiseach Micheál Martin last month.
File image of Taoiseach Micheál Martin last month.
Image: Leah Farrell

THE TAOISEACH HAS said he would be willing to publicly receive the coronavirus vaccine on television in the future if it helps people “make sure that I’m taking the vaccine”. 

Speaking to reporters this afternoon, Micheál Martin said he is willing to receive the vaccine publicly when it is available to him, but not as “some sort of PR opportunity”.  

“I will be taking the vaccine in accordance with the prioritisation attached to it by the public health authorities,” Martin said. 

I will be taking that vaccine… in whatever way that people want to make sure that I’m taking the vaccine.

“I don’t want to be doing it ostensibly just for the sake of doing it, or some sort of PR opportunity. That wouldn’t be my agenda.” 

This follows after US president-elect Joe Biden, as well as former US presidents Barack Obama, George W Bush and Bill Clinton said they would take a coronavirus vaccine on camera if it will help promote public confidence.

Obama, in an interview with SiriusXM radio, said he would be inoculated if top US infectious disease expert Anthony Fauci signs off on a Covid-19 vaccine.

Later in the day, Biden told CNN in an interview that he, too, would be willing to be vaccinated in public after government approval of vaccines, specifically saying he would rely on Fauci to say it was safe.

“It’s important to communicate to the American people it’s safe,” Biden said. “It’s safe to do this.”

Micheál Martin said that he wants to make “very clear” that he “will be taking the vaccine”. 

I have faith in the authorisation agencies in Europe and the US in terms of authorising and giving market authorisation for these vaccines.

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Neither the US nor Europe has yet approved a Covid-19 vaccine. Earlier this week, the UK formally approved a vaccine against Covid-19 developed by Germany’s BioNTech and US giant Pfizer, becoming the first country to do so. 

On Wednesday, the Tánaiste Leo Varadkar said he is reasonably confident that a Covid-19 vaccine will start to be rolled out in Ireland next month with wider population immunity possible by next September. 

He said the National Immunisation Advisory Committee will decide on the future rollout and they will make a decision in the coming weeks.

Varadkar said vaccines are safe and effective and could have a “real and meaningful impact for the country” next year before wider population immunity would be achieved next September or October.

With reporting by Gráinne Ní Aodha

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