No additional Covid restrictions expected before Christmas, Minister says

The Government Chief Whip says that he does not foresee any additional Covid restrictions between now and Christmas.

As the Irish Examiner reports, Jack Chambers told Claire Byrne on RTÉ Radio that he does not see any restrictions being added to those already in place.

He said that the Government was aware of concerns about the time of the year, but said that school closures are “not on the agenda”. He pointed to the additional funding made available to schools as proof of this.

“I don’t believe (there will be more restrictions). We’ve seen a stabilisation despite our case numbers being quite high.

“We all need to be additionally wary of our extra contacts as we go through December.”

Mr Chambers also told the show that the HSE will present an accelerated booster campaign this week. He agreed that it was necessary to provide certainty to those over the age of 40 and to other cohorts on when they will receive their booster.


“We will be using every resource” he said, to deliver the booster campaign.

Additional capacity

“The HSE will set out an update to their plan. They will set out how to operationalise the vaccination of 5-11 year-olds, which I know parents want to know when this will start.

“They will also set out a date when over 40s will start and thirdly, how we scale up and add additional capacity to the vaccination programme.”

Mr Chambers said that Ireland had the fourth-highest uptake of boosters in Europe but that the Government was “ambitious” to get as many people vaccinated as possible.

He said the HSE was going to hit a vaccination capacity of 300,000 per week within a fortnight. “In the round”, he said, most vaccination centres were coping well with queues for boosters, saying that the HSE was looking at additional capacity through pharmacies and GPs.

Mr Chambers said that Ireland is “in a race” with the Omicron variant, but there would be 1.5 million booster doses dished out by Christmas.

Higher Education Minister Simon Harris yesterday said it was time to “boost the booster campaign”.

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