Republic of Ireland's slower vaccination programme does ‘bring headaches’ for Northern Ireland – Arlene Foster


First Minister Arlene Foster believes the Republic of Ireland’s slower Covid-19 vaccination programme will cause problems as Northern Ireland’s continues to move at pace.

he number of people in Northern Ireland who have received their first Covid vaccination has reached almost 600,000.

Speaking during Thursday’s Covid-19 press conference, Mrs Foster said the differing speeds at which the vaccine programmes are progressing will “bring headaches”.

“It’s very clear that we are going to be finished our vaccination programme and the Republic of Ireland will still be in the midst of theirs. That does bring headaches,” stated the DUP leader.

“I think we will have to hear from our Chief Medical Officer [Dr Michael McBride] in relation to that – whether we need to take any actions.

“If you have people who are interacting with people who have been vaccinated then it becomes less effective because the virus learns that and then we would be in difficulty.

“I think there will be a need to look at this in the future.”

Meanwhile, Deputy First Minister Michelle O’Neill stated that the Executive will begin to lift lockdown restrictions as soon as “we’re in a position to give certainty”.

“Things do look good today,” she said. “The virus transmission is on a downward trajectory but with what we’ve experienced in the past year that can quickly reverse itself.

“With the continued support of the public we’ll get to the point very quickly where we’ll be able to announce what does the first stage in lifting the restrictions looks like.”

Meanwhile, the Health Minister said he is not in favour of Covid-19 vaccine certificates becoming mandatory in Northern Ireland.

Robin Swann said they may be used for international travel but the idea they may be required in Northern Ireland to visit the cinema or restaurant “doesn’t sit comfortably with me”.

Appearing at the Stormont health committee on Thursday morning, the UUP minister also said the use of vaccine certificates is not generally supported by the Executive.

Belfast Telegraph

Source: Irish News