Vaccine rollout: Prioritisation of health, education and essential workers welcomed

Ireland’s largest public service union has welcomed the proposed prioritisation of healthcare and education staff and other key workers in the ‘provisional vaccine allocation groups’ published by the health department today (Tuesday). These groups will be among those prioritised to receive the Covid-19 vaccination once it’s approved for use in Ireland.

Fórsa said the high priority given to frontline health workers, who will be the second group prioritised for vaccination, was expected. The union added that the inclusion of health service support staff as the fourth group was also necessary and welcome.

The union said it would press for certain frontline local authority staff, community sector workers and civil servants – including those in social welfare offices and customs and border posts – to be included as key workers in essential jobs who can’t avoid a high risk of exposure. This is the tenth priority in the list published today.

The Government also confirmed that staff working in education will be among the priority groups. Fórsa’ head of education, Andy Pike, said SNAs and other schools staff are to be prioritised because of the essential roles they carry out in maintaining education provision during the pandemic where they themselves cannot maintain a social distance.

“Forsa has been making the case for schools staff such as SNAs, secretaries and caretakers to be amongst the priority groups and this Government decision is welcome. Fórsa is due to meet the HSE and the Department of Education and Skills tomorrow (Wednesday) morning to discuss how the vaccination programme will work,” he said.