EU planning waves of vaccines, including boosters, Taoiseach says

Brussels is ordering more vaccines for children and teenagers for 2022 and 2023, Martin says

Taoiseach Micheal Martin. Photograph: Brian Lawless/PA Wire

Taoiseach Micheal Martin. Photograph: Brian Lawless/PA Wire

 

The Taoiseach has said that the European Union is planning for successive waves of vaccination including booster shots.

“The Commission is getting ahead of this, they look forward to a situation where we would have a faster readjustment of vaccines, particularly the mRNA vaccines, to deal with variants,” Micheal Martin said

Brussels, he said, is ordering more vaccines for children and teenagers for use through 2022 and 2023, and streamlining the process for designing and approving vaccines as it eyes a longer term future alongside the virus.

“What I see evolving is a more advanced sort of settled pattern of dealing with this pandemic, it won’t end in one big bang,” he said on the Tonight Show on Virgin Media on Thursday.

Asked if he was planning a second round of vaccines, he said: “Europe is, Europe is planning for that, that’s a potential we have to hold out for, a booster vaccine potentially.”

He said in the future, it could be better if the European Medicines Agency “developed a more uniform competency across all of Europe”. He said public health had to be more uniformly applied across Europe and capabilities around genomic sequencing and vaccination authorisation should be organised at a European level.

He said the pandemic had “exposed a long term failure” in terms of digitalisation of the healthcare system.

Speaking after a day which saw the Government decide to exempt vaccinated people from mandatory hotel quarantine and sustained criticism from the European Commission, embassies of EU countries, and the airline and travel industry, he said mandatory hotel quarantine had worked “in terms of the broader strategy of reducing travel”. He said as vaccines progress in Ireland and across Europe, a EU-wide approach would be needed, including the digital green cert.

He said the Government always said mandatory hotel quarantine “would be challenging”. “Ireland is not an island rtrhat can seal itself off, medium term, long term,” he said. But “as we vaccinate more and more, we need to revisit these policies”. He said the policy would evolve over time. He said aviation tourism and hospitality would need “exceptional and targeted measures”, along with the arts and entertainment industries.