A national discussion on compulsory vaccination is needed, said Liam Fanning, professor of immunovirology at University College Cork.
“The idea needs to be thrown out. It’s worth discussing,” he told Newstalk Breakfast.
Minutes of the Nphet meeting on 16 December show that compulsory vaccination was considered by the team.
“It was noted that Nphet will discuss the issue of compulsory vaccination at a later date and that this discussion will be facilitated by a forthcoming paper from the Department of Health on relevant ethical and legal considerations relating to this topic.”
Prof Fanning pointed out that health care settings already had mandatory vaccination (for other diseases) in “some form”, so it was “not accurate” to say it wasn’t already.
“Some businesses must have a hepatitis vaccine,” he said, while visitors to some countries also required vaccines against tropical diseases, indicating that compulsory vaccination was acceptable in some circumstances. Professor Fanning said he could see that mandatory vaccinations are being made for businesses facing patients or working in public.
The Taoiseach has said in the past that it did not want to see mandatory vaccination for COVID-19, which Prof Fanning said does not appear to have an “appetite” for such a measure.
|Total Dose Delivered to Ireland||Total Dose Administered in Ireland|
I am a Pregnant Epidemiologist and Public Health Registrar, and I am married to a Consultant Anesthetist. We have both been triple vaccinated because we believe that vaccines are the best way to protect ourselves, our family, our friends, our colleagues and our patients. #vaccine work
— Dr. Naom Gallagher (@naomhgallagher)
9 January 2022
I am a Consultant Gynecological Oncologist and I have 2 vaccines and a booster.
This is the single most important thing I can do to avoid being admitted to the ICU or dying of COVID. And it will protect both my family and my patients. pic.twitter.com/NSCYbZCmJZ
— Michael O’Leary (@drmoleary)
9 January 2022
Prof Fanning also called for the need for booster certificates for social activity and hospitality as it would protect employees and customers as the boosters shortened the window during which they were likely to be contagious.
HSE chief executive Paul Reid has said that it was his personal view that the voluntary immunization system was better than the compulsory system.
He told Newstalk Breakfast that vaccine manufacturing in Ireland has been spectacular. “It’s always better to work with people’s hearts and minds.”
It was a policy matter for the government to decide the issue of compulsory vaccination, which they would do on the advice of NEFT.
Meanwhile, Irish consultants have joined the UK’s online campaign to support vaccination programmes.
The British government has decided that all NHS staff in England who have direct contact with patients must receive their first dose of the COVID vaccine by 3 February or risk losing their jobs at the end of March.
The online comments are in response to an exchange between consultant anesthetist Dr Steve James and British Health Secretary Sajid Javid, which was captured on Sky News.
“I have had covid at some point, I have antibodies, and I have been working on the covid ITU from the beginning; I haven’t been vaccinated, I don’t want to get vaccinated. The vaccine with Delta is only reducing transmission for about eight weeks.
“With Omicron it’s probably less. And for that I’ll be dismissed if I don’t have a vaccine? The science isn’t strong enough.”
Galway-based gynecologist and oncologist Professor Michael O’Leary tweeted in response: “I have 2 vaccines and a booster. This is the single most important thing I can do to avoid being admitted to the ICU or dying from COVID. And it will protect both my family and my patients.”
Dr Roger McMurrow, Consultant Anesthetist at the National Maternity Hospital tweeted: “I am @_TheNMH’s Consultant Anesthetist and Clinical Director.
“I am grateful that I got a triple reply against Covid. My wife and my two teenagers have also grown 3 times and my 11 year old will get a job for the first time this week. Vaccines are the best way to protect you and your family.”
Dr Naom Gallagher, who lives in Belfast, tweeted: “I’m a pregnant epidemiologist and public health registrar, and I’m married to a consultant anesthetist. We’ve both been triple vaccinated because we believe the vaccines themselves, ours The best way to protect family, our friends, our colleagues and our patients. The #vaccine work.”