Children will not need Covid-19 vaccine to attend school, Stephen Donnelly confirms
It was confirmed earlier this week that the vaccination program in Ireland will be extended to 12-15-year-olds shortly.
There are 269,000 children in the 12-15 year age group and they will be given the option to be vaccinated in vaccine centres.
However, according to Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly, the Covid-19 vaccine will not be mandatory for children going back to school.
The minister said any suggestion that pupils would need to be vaccinated in order to attend school was "absolutely not on the cards and won't be on the cards.”
Speaking to RTÉ Radio One's Morning Ireland, Mr Donnelly confirmed that 12 to 15-year-olds with underlying health conditions will be prioritised for Covid-19 vaccines, as the rollout programme shifts its focus to children.
"There was a particular emphasis in the Niac advice on vaccinating children who have underlying conditions and vaccinating children who live with, or are in social or family circles with adults who have underlying conditions.
"I think it's likely there will be a role for GPs, particularly where parents have a child with an underlying condition, they have a relationship with a GP, they'd like to talk to their GP, parents will have some very reasonable questions they want to discuss, and they might want the GP to administer the vaccine as well,” the Health Minister said.
Donnelly also pointed out that children will need permission from their parents and will also have to be accompanied to vaccine centres by a parent.
"Ultimately, the consent and the permission comes from the parents, they will always do what's right for their child and a lot of parents now, I think, are really welcoming of this news and they're looking forward to getting their children vaccinated,” he said.