Fully vaccinated people in the Republic of Ireland will be granted additional freedoms, the Tánaiste has said. Leo Varadkar confirmed the Government is developing a “digital green certificate vaccine pass”, enabling people to prove their vaccination status and coronavirus immunity.
In an Easter Weekend video posted to social media, Varadkar said the Government will be introducing “additional measures for the fully vaccinated”. These new measures mean the Government can introduce “more freedoms for those who have been vaccinated”.
The Tánaiste also said the State was set to accelerate their vaccination programme in the coming weeks, with a message to the public: “We’re going to surprise you.” Varadkar said they are anticipating that the majority of adults will have had their first dose “by the middle of May”, with the over 70s having already been fully vaccinated by then.
“And by the end of June the vast, vast majority, more than 80% of people, will have been offered the first dose,” Varadkar promised. “We’d hope to do even better than that as well and many will have their second dose too. So you know, really the acceleration phase, the ramp up phase is April, May and June.”
Varadkar said this process will get a little easier when the fourth vaccine – Johnson and Johnson single-dose vaccination – begins to roll out. The Tánaiste recognises that “a lot of people might feel that they’re never going to get vaccinated”, but maintains they are going to surprise us with the upcoming process.
Varadkar said the more the vaccination programme progresses, the more options the Government will have to reopen the country. “Like I say most adults will have had their first dose by the end of May, that’s not too far away. Lots of people, the most vulnerable, will be fully vaccinated at that point [end of May], and that allows us to make choices about reopening the country that we couldn’t make last week”.
The Government will examine the reopening of the economy in May, if the numbers continue to go in the right direction. With this, non-essential retail and personal services, such as hairdressers and barbers, will have a chance in the coming weeks to reopen. Varadkar also said religious services, contact sports, museums, galleries and libraries will also be “in the mix” by then. NPHET member Professor Philip Nolan recently said no mass gatherings will take place until at least 70% of the population have been vaccinated.