HEALTHCARE WORKERS in Ireland who refuse a Covid-19 vaccine could be redeployed under plans being discussed by the Health Service Executive (HSE).
According to The Irish Times there are no plans to make the jab mandatory, however staff who refuse to confirm whether they have been vaccinated or not could be moved out of any patient-facing role.
The proposals are being put forward following a risk assessment by HSE officials.
There could be some exceptions to the rules in situations where hospitals are facing staff shortages, or the individual involved has specialised qualifications.
Under the current rules, vaccination remains an opt-in process for healthcare workers in Ireland.
Patients are entitled to ask staff if they have had a vaccine, but healthcare workers are not obliged to disclose what could be viewed as sensitive personal information.
While HSE notes that over 90 of frontline healthcare workers have taken up the offer of a jab, it does not know how many have refused.
A small contingent of healthcare workers are eager to choose which Covid vaccine they take but HSE has already warned that this is not possible.
The potential rule change follows a reported 146 cases of Covid-19 among healthcare workers in Ireland over the second half of April.
The Health Information and Quality Authority (Hiqa) is already examining a phased approach to dealing with healthcare workers opposed to taking the vaccine.
This could involve one-to-one conversations, more testing and additional PPE.
As of the beginning of the week, at least 31% of the population had received at least one vaccine dose, with around 12% now fully vaccinated.
Ireland is also due to receive 4.8 million vaccines every year in 2022 and 2023 under a deal negotiated between Pfizer and the EU.