Young people may be “intentionally” acquiring Covid-19 in order to obtain a Covid Digital Certificate, a specialist in public health has warned.
Dr Douglas Hamilton of HSE Public Health Midlands said it has recently come to their attention that “a number” of teenagers and young adults may have acquired Covid-19 intentionally at social events in order to obtain the Covid Digital Certificate.
Speaking to, Dr Hamilton said the department has heard from “very concerned parents” who provided examples of such a practice.
“They say there may have been parties or gatherings where their children, in the age group of 16 to 25, may have gone with the intention of getting Covid and then getting the Covid cert to give them the chance to travel.”
Dr Hamilton described the practice as “very concerning” and warned it is “extremely risky and dangerous” behaviour.
In a statement, HSE Public Health Midlands said the currently circulating Delta variant has higher morbidity and mortality rates, including for younger people.
“With this comes higher rates of long Covid, potentially resulting in lifelong cardiac, respiratory, cerebral or renal disease."
“It also carries a high risk of onwards spread to elderly and other vulnerable people, who may not have mounted as good an immune response to vaccination as younger and fully fit people, putting them at risk of serious disease," they said.
Dr Hamilton said they are “strongly” advising against intentionally acquiring the disease adding that vaccination provides better immunity than infection.
“We therefore advise that young people (18 to 24 years old) register as soon as possible to get vaccinated.”
The warning came as over 1,300 new cases of Covid-19 were reported this afternoon, 87% of which are in those under the age of 45.
The Taoiseach has made a direct appeal to young people to "take the opportunity" to get the vaccine stating it will "help us defeat this."
This evening, Health Minister Stephen Donnelly announced that registration for those aged 16 and 17 will start on Tuesday.
📢📢📢📢— Stephen Donnelly (@DonnellyStephen) July 26, 2021
Registration for those age 16 and 17 for a COVID-19 vaccine appointment will start tomorrow, Tuesday.
It's important that we continue to get as many of our population vaccinated as soon as vaccines are available and following the safety advice of our experts. pic.twitter.com/obZmHN0MD1
Young people can currently register for a vaccine through the vaccination portal the vaccination portal with a Personal Public Service (PPS) number, eircode, a mobile phone number and an email address or can call HSELive on 1800 700 700 to register.
This age cohort can also book a Janssen vaccine appointment, which offers full protection after a single dose at a participating pharmacy.