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Covid-19 vaccination certificates 'under consideration' says health minister

Professor Brian MacCraith, chairperson of the task force, said the EU is currently considering a scheme across all member states.

Image: Shutterstock/LookerStudio

COVID-19 VACCINATION CERTIFICATES which prove who got the Covid-19 injection are “under consideration” by the government, Health Minister Stephen Donnelly has said.

The government’s National Covid-19 Vaccination Programme was announced today, which details where people will be vaccinated, the process of arranging an appointment to get a vaccine and the systems that will be needed to monitor its roll out.

As part of the implementation plan, the high-level vaccine task force said the vaccine administration process could include the production of a vaccine certificate after someone has received their dose. 

“The design of this certificate and the scope of how it will be delivered (eg. physically, digitally or both) is currently being progressed with a number of stakeholders, including the EU,” the plan states.

The World Health Organization (WHO) does not recommend countries issuing “immunity passports” for those who have recovered from Covid-19 but said it is looking at prospects of deploying e-vaccination certificates.

Head of the task force, Professor Brian MacCraith said:

“It’s being explored at the moment the very nature of it, whether it’s physical or digital, but the language being used is very careful. It’s a vaccination certificate of proof of vaccination, nothing else.

“There are also discussions at an EU level of perhaps a single model across the EU 27 for example, but it’s under consideration within the IT infrastructure discussions and as you might imagine it’s not a particularly challenging thing to create in its simplest configuration.”

Questions and concerns have been raised recently about airlines such as Quantas stating that people who want to travel internationally in the future will have to provide proof that they have received the Covid-19 vaccination.

Donnelly told reporters today that it all depends on the impact the vaccines will have on the rate of virus transmission.

“If it were the case that there was a huge impact, that it massively reduced transmissibility then we can start to think about using vaccine certs in a particular way.

“If it turns out that it’s actually a marginal impact on transmissibility then we might have to think about it differently,” he said.

“It’s there, its under consideration but we will be guided by Dr Nolan, Dr Holohan, by their teams on what we find out about it as time goes on in terms of transmissibility and other characteristics,” said Donnelly.

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Under international health regulation, states can require travellers to provide vaccination certificates, but this is limited to specific diseases expressly listed, such as yellow fever

A study in The Lancet this year states that vaccination certificates for coronavirus could be included in the revised WHO recommendations, while member states could consider revising the list of diseases.

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