THOSE who have been vaccinated against Covid-19 in Ireland could face additional freedoms as early as next month, according to the National Public Health Emergency Team (NPHET).
The Team says it will examine a potential easing of restrictions or what is known as a 'vaccine bonus'.
It's understood that in the coming weeks, they'll be making recommendations to Government about precisely what this vaccine bonus might entail.
Level Five restrictions are likely to remain as they are until the end of April, but those who have been vaccinated may be afforded certain freedoms before then.
It comes just as the United States announced that anyone who has been vaccinated against Covid-19 can visit other vaccinated individuals indoors without the need to wear a face mask or to adhere to physical distancing.
Irish immunologist professor Luke O'Neill says that Ireland should follow America's lead, and allow vaccinated individuals the following freedoms:
- To visit other vaccinated people indoors
- To visit unvaccinated people who are low risk of severe Covid-19 indoors
- To refrain from quarantining after coming into contact with someone displaying Covid-19 symptoms
As of the end of last week, just over 513,000 doses of the Covid-19 vaccine had been administered in Ireland.
Speaking at an HSE briefing, Deputy Chief Medical Officer Dr Ronan Glynn urged people to"keep their guard up" in order to give NPHET more options ahead of the April 5 deadline on restrictions.
"We need as much improvement as we can through March," Dr Glynn said.
"We are on a good pathway as it stands, but it is a precarious pathway. There are many countries in Europe who have deteriorated in recent weeks.
"The level of the vaccine we have in people - that's not enough to avoid a deterioration or another wave if we drop our guard at this point."