Fully vaccinated people should be allowed attend concerts, says Stephen Donnelly

The Health Minister said the reduction in cases in nursing homes and among healthcare workers is 'nothing short of astonishing' and wants to increase the freedoms given to people as part of the so-called 'vaccine bonus'
Fully vaccinated people should be allowed attend concerts, says Stephen Donnelly

Electric Picnic: Health Minister Stephen Donnelly cited a pilot project in Israel that allowed people attend an open-air concert provided they could verify they were vaccinated. Picture: Sam Barnes/Sportsfile 

The Health Minister is in favour of allowing fully vaccinated people attend concerts and other events.

Stephen Donnelly said the reduction in cases in nursing homes and among healthcare workers is "nothing short of astonishing" and now wants to increase the freedoms given to people as part of the so-called 'vaccine bonus'.

The EU is now working on a green cert to allow people travel if they have been vaccinated or are immune because they have had Covid, however, Mr Donnelly said he was also open to easing restrictions for those who have received the vaccine.

Pilot project in Israel

Mr Donnelly cited a pilot project in Israel which allowed people attend an open-air concert provided they could verify they were vaccinated.

"I'm certainly open to those possibilities, because I was looking at the data on the effectiveness of the vaccines again yesterday and it is nothing short of astonishing," he said.

"I'm very open to suggestions around how if it is advised by public health, that there are things you could do if you're vaccinated on the basis that the evidence is growing stronger and stronger that not only do the vaccinations protect you incredibly well, they also are highly effective at stopping transmission."

Health Minister Stephen Donnelly said there had been a 97.5% reduction in the infection rate among healthcare workers from the peak in January. Picture: Sasko Lazarov/Rollingnews.ie

Health Minister Stephen Donnelly said there had been a 97.5% reduction in the infection rate among healthcare workers from the peak in January. Picture: Sasko Lazarov/Rollingnews.ie

Mr Donnelly said there were no new clusters in nursing homes last week which he described as "incredible".

Speaking on Newstalk's Pat Kenny Show, Mr Donnelly said there had been a 97.5% reduction in the infection rate among healthcare workers from the peak in January.

"Remember, a lot of healthcare workers at this point still haven't had their second dose, that is astonishing. 

It's beyond what anybody would have thought possible even six months ago. 

"So given just how effective these vaccines appear to be, I think we can certainly have those conversations."

Mr Donnelly said the country was still on course to have offered a vaccine to four in every five adults by the end of June.

Mandatory hotel quarantine list

As officials continue to discuss increasing the mandatory hotel quarantine list, he said EU countries which have variants should be added.

"The system opened up two weeks ago, in the first week of operation we added 33 countries, last week with the second week of operation I added another 26 countries. 

"This week, we're going through a consultation process on what would be the most significant countries – we're looking at the USA, France, Germany, Austria obviously is already on the list. They have been identified as variant of concern countries and my view is they do need to be on the list," said Mr Donnelly.

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