Taoiseach needs to outline rollout strategy for Covid vaccines
- Taoiseach should appoint a dedicated Minister with responsibility for vaccines
- Government need to outline how the vaccine will be rolled out and how vaccine passports will be generated and who is politically accountable for the rollout
Speaking at Leaders Questions, Labour Leader and Health Spokesperson Alan Kelly has asked the Taoiseach to give a comprehensive outline on the rollout strategy for Covid vaccines and to appointing a dedicated Minister with responsibility for the vaccination programme.
Deputy Kelly said:
“We need a comprehensive rollout strategy that’s going to deal with all of the vaccines that are going to be available. I appreciate Professor Brian MacCraith is being brought in to coordinate the new team that’s going to be looking after this, but we need to go broader than that and I’m concerned here because this is not something you or the Government can get wrong in any way shape or form.
“I believe we need outside expertise because if we take on board what happened in relation to the flu vaccine rollout. It would leave a lot to be desired. Last year Labour suggested very early on about the advance purchase of flu vaccines, and we were ignored.
“I think we need a Minister who’s going to be accountable to this house responsible for vaccine rollout given the logistical challenge involved and given what’s appeared on social media from certain antivax quarters and certain polls that have come out in relation to how supporters of various different political parties will or will not support vaccines. I think we really need somebody who’s going to be directly politically accountable for the most important thing in this country over the next 12 months.
“The word taskforce fills me with concern. This isn’t anything to do with politics. I accept what you’re saying about EU procurement. I accept what you’re saying, in relation to the number of vaccines, I believe we’ll probably have up to 10 options from what I’m hearing. And this is all very positive but there are simple logistical issues that need to be addressed.
“How will people who get vaccination, be distinguished from those who don’t? How are we going to generate passports for people who have the vaccination and will anyone who does not get the vaccination be allowed to go into certain public events? I believe, we need one person who’s going to report to you, who is going to be accountable for this because Minister Donnelly has enough to do.
Deputy Kelly continued:
“It is unclear from the Taoiseach’s response to me during Leaders Questions how the vaccine rollout programme will work and who is actually responsible and accountable for the administration of the vaccine. I believe he needs to appoint a dedicated Minister with responsibility for vaccine rollout because this is not something, the Government can afford to get wrong.