Vax to the wall | 

Leo Varadkar says 5pc unvaccinated ‘causing a lot of the trouble’ in Covid fight

‘If everyone was vaccinated we wouldn’t be imposing these restrictions’
Leo Varadkar (Niall Carson/PA)

Leo Varadkar (Niall Carson/PA)

Seoirse Mulgrew

Tánaiste Leo Varadkar has said the 5pc of the population who are not vaccinated against Covid-19 are causing “a lot of the trouble”.

Speaking on CNN Connect the World in Abu Dhabi, Mr Varadkar said the unvaccinated population can create an “awful lot of difficulty”.

“It is a difficult situation, things were going so well. I think as a nation we’re a little bit heartbroken that we’re back into a difficult space when it comes to Covid.

"We do have among the highest vaccinations rates in the world, around 94pc of adults are fully vaccinated.

“Unfortunately, the 5pc that are not are causing a lot of the trouble, about 5pc are not fully vaccinated but about 50pc of people in hospital and ICU are not fully vaccinated. So even that 5pc can create an awful lot of difficulty,” he said.

The Tánaiste said he expects that the Covid-19 booster shot will be offered to everyone eventually.

“It’s very evident now that immunity from the vaccine is waning and we can see that across Europe and that’s why we’re going to need to give people a third dose. I would anticipate that we’ll offer the third dose to everyone, as has been the case in other countries,” he added.

Mr Varadkar said he hopes more restrictions will not be imposed before Christmas. He said the situation on further restrictions will be assessed in “two weeks’ time”.

“I hope not we’re going to reassess the situation in about two weeks' time and see if cases have stabilised. I’ve always said that I felt we need to get through another winter before we can say that this pandemic is safely behind us, and this may become a problem that we have to deal with every winter,” he said.

When asked whether the Government would consider restrictions solely for the unvaccinated, he said ultimately vaccination is a “personal choice”.

“We’ve never done that and to be honest we’re reluctant to do that. One of the things our Constitution does is protect people’s right to a livelihood. Ultimately it is a personal choice and questions around bodily autonomy and personal freedom do matter.

“But what I would say to people who are not vaccinated, 5pc of our population is unvaccinated and if everyone was vaccinated, we wouldn’t be imposing the restrictions we are now.

He added: “People who are not vaccinated are now at a higher risk than ever of getting the infection because it’s so prevalent in our community, and while you may acquire immunity by getting infected, you may also end up in hospital.”

“You may also end up with some of the long-term side effects of getting Covid and I’d really encourage anyone who is not vaccinated to still come forward and do so.”

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