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Vaccine rollouts to be assessed by BIPA EUROPEAN AFFAIRS Committee 

9 August 2021

BIPA’s European Affairs Committee’s new inquiry will examine the approval, production, and procurement of the Covid vaccines and the approaches taken to vaccination in the UK and Ireland to look for lessons that could improve responses to future pandemics.

Differences in the speed of vaccine rollouts in the UK and Ireland became evident around the new year, when the UK was especially successful in securing vaccine supplies and ramping up its vaccination programme at scale. The pace of vaccination and the approach taken has also varied between the devolved administrations of the UK. Disparities in vaccination rates could see increased exposure to the virus as both the British and Irish economies open-up and people begin mixing, working and travelling across borders. The committee will also take account of new and emerging divergence and convergence in vaccination rates and approaches between the UK and Ireland.   

The Committee will also assess the use of vaccine status as a measure to grant immunised people greater freedoms during the social and economic recovery. Although they could provide a vehicle to restarting large events and entertainment industry activities, as well as enabling international travel, critics argue that ‘vaccine passports’ or “Covid-status certificates” would discriminate against people from groups with lower uptakes based on race, religion and socio-economic background. 

Following significant changes in the use and collection of data of individuals for track and trace operations during the pandemic, the Committee will assess the UK’s and EU’s (in particular Ireland’s) approaches to data and data security.

 

Scope of inquiry

The inquiry will examine the following issues:

  • Different approaches to vaccine roll out between jurisdictions. The Committee is particularly keen to hear about lessons learned from the roll out in the Crown Dependencies. 
  • Information and data sharing in both the European Union (with a particular focus on Ireland) and Britain: what data is collected, why is it collected, how is it shared, and how does that differs across jurisdictions? What is the impact of “data divergence” between jurisdictions?
  • Differences in vaccine approval, production and procurement procedures in both the UK and Ireland, which participated in the European Union vaccine procurement programme.
  • Levels of cooperation between Ireland and the UK in relation to healthcare, including Irish citizens’ work in the NHS. 
  • Britain and Ireland’s participation in the Global Vaccine Programme, and whether there is a moral and practical responsibility for countries to help with vaccination against Covid-19 in poorer countries. 
  • The use of vaccines/vaccine status in “re-opening” societies and economies 
  • The roll out of vaccines in both in Ireland, a continuing member of the European Union, and Britain over the coming 12 months, including efforts to assimilate coronavirus vaccinations into public health vaccination programmes.

The Committee are encouraging anyone with information on the following points to get in touch by emailing Committee Clerk, Dr Libby McEnhill (mcenhilll@parliament.uk), before 13 September.

 

 

Follow us on Twitter for updates: @BritishIrishPA

Further information contact: 

Dublin: Petrina Vousden (+353) (0) 85 8745 295 petrina.vousden@oireachtas.ie

London: Tim West: +44 (0)7933 386 949 westtb@parliament.uk

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