Greater clarity still needed on vaccination programme
Responding to the announcement tonight from the Taoiseach, Labour Party Leader Alan Kelly said that with a path forward announced on the lifting of restrictions, it is vital that the government provide greater transparency about the vaccination programme.
Deputy Kelly said:
“While the Taoiseach has announced a timetable of measures that will relax some restrictions over the coming weeks, for most people across the country they are still no wiser as to when they will be vaccinated.
“Public patience with many of the restrictions has also broken down due to the failure to aggressively suppress the virus in the community over the last two months.
“The Labour Party advocated a series of measures to control and eliminate transmission but unfortunately the government did not take on board our views. For example, rapid antigen testing has still not been rolled out, and public health teams have not been adequately resourced. There is still a need to assure people we are doing everything possible to suppress the virus. That’s why I also called for a survey of employers, and mandatory hotel quarantine for all non-essential travel into Ireland.
“The vaccination programme is now being overhauled after many problems, but we still don’t know who is in charge and it’s still not too late to appoint a designated Minister for Vaccines. There are a lot of frontline essential workers in education, childcare, policing and retail who will be concerned that they no longer have any priority under the vaccination programme.
“The government is gambling on volume over efficiency when it comes to the vaccine roll out which is why they’ve decided to change strategy. This gamble better work out for them, otherwise workers in Covid facing roles will be left high and dry.
“The government also still need to provide answers on what happened at the Beacon. If we had a Vaccination Minister we might have some proper oversight and accountability. In the coming weeks people’s faith in our Covid response can be restored with a more competent rollout of the vaccine.”