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For Written Answer on : 06/05/2021
Question Number(s): 183 Question Reference(s): 23389/21
Department: Health
Asked by: David Stanton T.D.


To ask the Minister for Health his plans to adopt the WHO recommendation of 25 March 2021 on the prioritisation of Covid-19 vaccinations for seafarers and aircrew; and if he will make a statement on the matter.


The COVID-19 Vaccine Allocation Strategy sets out a provisional list of groups for vaccination. The Strategy was developed by the National Immunisation Advisory Committee (NIAC) and my Department, endorsed by the National Public Health Emergency Team (NPHET), and approved by Government on 8 December 2020.

On the 23rd of February, I announced an update to Ireland’s COVID-19 Vaccine Allocation Strategy. In comprising the initial Vaccine Allocation Strategy, the NIAC listed several conditions associated with increased risk of severe disease and death. In the intervening period, national and international evidence has become available which has enabled a more detailed analysis of underlying conditions that may increase the risk of developing severe disease or death. The NIAC has now been able to more comprehensively identify those medical conditions and to distinguish between those which place a person at very high or high risk of severe disease if they contract the virus. Medical conditions and the magnitude of the risk they pose will continue to be monitored and periodically reviewed.

On the 30th of March, the Government approved a further update to the COVID-19 Vaccination Allocation Strategy. Based on clinical, scientific and ethical frameworks produced by the National Immunisation Advisory Committee and my Department, following the vaccination of those most at risk, future groups will be vaccinated by age, in cohorts of 10 years (i.e., 64-55; 54-45, etc.).

The move to an age-based model better supports the programme objectives by:
• protecting those at highest risk of severe disease first, which benefits everyone most;
• facilitating planning and execution of the programme across the entire country;
• improving transparency and fairness.

Further details are available here: It is important to note that the NIAC has advised that there is no evidence to show a significantly increased risk of severe COVID-19 disease, independent of age and other comorbidities, in any occupational group other than frontline healthcare workers to prioritise them for vaccination above their age-cohort.