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Explained: Do I need proof of a booster jab for indoor hospitality?

As updated Digital Covid Certs are currently being issued to booster recipients, questions still remain if there are plans to alter guidelines for vaccine certs and their use for indoor hospitality settings.

Here is everything you need to know...

Why are updated Digital Covid Certs being issued?

Updated Covid Digital Certs are being issued to include peoples updated vaccine status for those who have received a booster jab.

It comes as new EU rules are set to come into effect from February 1st which impose a 9-month maximum validity period for EU Digital Covid Certificates after completing the primary two-dose course of a Covid-19 vaccine.

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The new updated vaccine certificates began to be issued to people who received their booster jab last week via email.

Minister of State for Public Procurement and eGovernment Ossian Smyth said if, for some reason, a person does not have an email address then they will receive a text which will give step-by-step instructions on how to access the cert.

If any eligible person has not received their updated certificate, they can use the online self-service portal at gov.ie  or by calling the Covid Cert helpline at 1800 807 008 (+353 76 888 5513 from abroad).

Will they be needed for indoor hospitality?

According to the Department of Health, "validity periods" on vaccination certificates for domestic use are not currently planned by the Government.

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This means, at the moment, there are no plans for indoor hospitality settings to obtain proof a person has had a booster jab before allowing them entry.

However, despite the Department of Health statement, the Government do seem to be open to the idea of adding the requirement of a booster jab for access to indoor hospitality.

When asked last week if boosters will be required for indoor hospitality, the Taoiseach Michéal Martin said: “In the fullness of time, yes, I think, but not shorter than that.”

"Government decisions will have to be taken. It is very clear to us that the benefits of the booster are very significant right now, above all, preventing severe illness from Omicron."

According to a spokesperson for the Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly: "There are no plans at present, but obviously things can change."

As reported by the Irish Examiner, no firm decision has been made by the Government but the introduction of booster certs for admission to hospitality will be discussed over the coming weeks and months.

So, do I need my original vaccine cert for indoor hospitality?

As per Government guidelines, Covid-19 vaccine certificates which show a person has had their first and second dose of a Covid-19 vaccine are still required for entry to indoor hospitality settings.

When the entry requirement was brought in by the Government last year, the reasoning was that the measure was in the interest of public health and safety.

The reasoning put forward by the Government and public health officials was, if everyone in an indoor setting shows they are protected with their vaccine certificate, the indoor setting would be safe.

However, with information about Covid-19 vaccines now showing that protection provided by the vaccines decreases over time, people have been urged to get a booster jab to increase their protection once again.

Therefore, those dining in indoor hospitality settings with only two doses of a Covid-19 vaccine are not as strongly protected as those who have received their booster jab.

It remains to be seen if the Government will update public health guidelines for hospitality to cover different levels of immunity against the virus, however it can be expected to be considered "in the fullness of time".

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