Leo Varadkar says unvaccinated people are "causing a lot of the trouble"
"We're going to reassess the situation in about two weeks' time."
Tánaiste Leo Varadkar has said that the Government will reassess the current spate of Covid-19 restrictions in a fortnight's time, while pointing to Ireland's unvaccinated population as a troublesome issue.
Speaking on CNN's Connect the World programme, Varadkar noted that "as a nation, we're a little bit crestfallen" about having to introduce fresh restrictions.
"We do have among the highest vaccination rates in the world – around 94% of adults are fully vaccinated," he said.
"Unfortunately, the 5% that are not are causing a lot of the trouble. About 5% are not fully vaccinated but about 50% of people in hospital in ICU are not fully vaccinated, so even that 5% can create a lot of difficulty."
Varadkar then referred to evidence that the original vaccine doses are waning and reiterated the need to provide a booster to the nation.
"We're providing what I'm now calling 'the third dose' – I think this is going to be a three-dose vaccine," he began.
"Some vaccines require three doses. Two isn't going to be enough so we are extending that now to more than half the adult population. Anyone over 50 and then anyone under 50 with medical conditions. And I'd anticipate that we'd offer the third dose to everyone, as has been the case in other countries."
Asked if he envisions further restrictions before Christmas, the Tánaiste said that the Government will look to the hospital system as a guideline for where to turn next.
"You know, I hope not," he said.
"We're going to reassess the situation in about two weeks time and see if cases have stabilised and hopefully they'll be falling by then. But there's no guarantee that's going to be the case.
"I've always said that I felt we need to get through another winter before we could say that this pandemic is safely behind us. As you suggested earlier, it may be the case that this becomes a problem that we have to deal with every winter.
"We need to make sure we prepare for that through vaccinations and also other measures around test-tracing and isolating, in particular."
5% of the nation's unvaccinated population "are causing the trouble" @LeoVaradkar tells @BeckyCNN -- but Christmas might not be canceled yet. He hopes no new restrictions will be put in place before then and boosters will aid waning immunity. #Ireland #covid #restrictions #pubs pic.twitter.com/z9jyVIdByL
— Connect the World (@CNNConnect) November 18, 2021
Featured Image via Sam Boal / RollingNews.ie