Vaccine passes set to be a "continuing requirement" for at least the next year
"I would expect the Covid certification is going to continue."
Minister of State Ossian Smyth has said that there will be a "continuing requirement" for vaccine passports over the next year at least.
The use of the passports is due to expire at the end of June 2022, but Smith said he expects that they will be required beyond that time frame.
When asked on Thursday how long the passports may remain in place, Smyth said: "The digital Covid scheme was set up with a one-year end date, so it has a sunset clause.
"I think your broader question might be though, next year are you going to need a Covid cert to go abroad, are you going to need one to go into a restaurant or cafe, and I think there will be a continuing requirement for vaccination status, if not in Ireland, certainly to travel."
Smyth added that the vaccine passes have been "incredibly successful" in allowing a return to indoor dining.
"Many have been able to reunite with loved ones abroad. 20,000 were able to return to work in indoor hospitality as a result. It has been an incredibly successful situation," he added.
The Minister of State said that while he can't say for certain, he does expect that the Covid certifications will continue due to the possibility of emerging variants which may be stronger than the highly transmissible Delta variant.
"What we have seen with the Delta threat is that a new variant can emerge without warning which is stronger or more contagious and requires new vaccinations to deal with it," he said.
"So with that in mind, I would expect the Covid certification is going to continue."
The EU Digital Covid Cert, which rolled out last month, allows people who are fully vaccinated, recently recovered, or with recent negative PCR tests to travel through Europe.
The certs are also currently required for dining indoors throughout the country.
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