Taoiseach rules out mandatory vaccines as voluntary system favoured
"We have achieved one of the highest rates in the world through a voluntary system and that is the system we will maintain."
Taoiseach Michael Martin has said that he favours the system of voluntary vaccinations.
It comes as reports earlier today stated that the National Public Health Emergency Team would be considering mandatory vaccinations, and that the Department of Health was to prepare a paper on the issue.
Mr Martin said the system of voluntary vaccinations would be maintained, RTÉ news reports.
When asked about reports that NPHET will consider mandatory vaccination, Taoiseach Micheál Martin said that he favoured a voluntary vaccination programme | https://t.co/uHzE0ysBrD pic.twitter.com/XluhDcRAB3
— RTÉ News (@rtenews) January 10, 2022
“I’ve been very clear that I favour the voluntary approach to vaccination.
“We’ve done extraordinarily well as a country in terms of a 94% vaccination rate for the first and second dose and even 63% for the booster."
He added: "Vaccination is the big game changer here, I favour voluntary. I fully respect that people will obviously explore the issues and research them and so on but, from my perspective, we have achieved one of the highest rates in the world through a voluntary system and that is the system we will maintain."
He also said that no further restrictions are expected, however, the Omicron wave of Covid had not yet reached its peak and is expected do so within the coming weeks.
"We haven’t peaked yet - Covid has had many twists and turns, but I am confident that if we maintain the same focus we can get through this wave."
Earlier today, Sinn Féin leader Mary Lou McDonald said she disapproves of mandatory vaccination, viewing it as potentially "counterproductive".
"The public have voted with their feet in huge numbers and taken up vaccination," she said.
"A small percentage have not, and that of course is their right, but I don't think you will win people to the desirability of vaccinations by making it compulsory.
"In fact, I think it could have a counterproductive effect."
Main Image Credit: Julien Behal Photography / RollingNews.ie