FULLY vaccinated older people in Ireland are set to be awarded a number of additional freedoms next week.
Cabinet sources revealed on Thursday night that a 'vaccine bonus' is likely to be given to those who have "shouldered a heavy burden" since the start of the pandemic.
It's understood that the bonuses will broadly follow guidance currently in place in the US, where fully vaccinated individuals are allowed to gather indoors without masks or the need to maintain social distance.
Vaccinated grandparents are also allowed to visit their unvaccinated, and otherwise healthy, grandchildren indoors without mask-wearing or physical distancing too.
The rules are also expected to allow for nationwide and international travel, without the need to quarantine or self-isolate.
Earlier this month, the Government eased restrictions for the first time since November, allowing one fully vaccinated person to meet up indoors with another fully vaccinated person without the need to follow public health guidelines, but these rules were strictly limited.
It's thought that Ireland will be reopening large chunks of society next month, and Chief Medical Officer Dr Tony Holohan said that the National Public Health Emergency Team (NPHET) is looking closely at what benefits could be awarded to those who have suffered the most in the past year.
He said NPHET is considering giving greater freedoms to vaccinated people to reflect their levels of risk, and would be passing the advice on to Government next week.
"We are all sensitive to the fact that many of those [vaccinated] are in the older groups, and have shouldered the burden, and have been asked to stay at home for long periods during this pandemic," Dr Holohan said.
"Vaccination is offering them the chance to interact with other people in a way that is safe, and we are considering that."