SDLP Health Spokesperson Colin McGrath has said DUP Economy Minister Gordon Lyons’ reckless proposal to scrap the agreed vaccine certification scheme will put the public at risk.
Mr McGrath said that by refusing to introduce mitigations like vaccine certifications the Economy Minister was risking collapse in the health service and further restrictions being introduced which would place immense strain on the public and the business sector.
South Down MLA Mr McGrath said:
“I was astounded to hear such recklessness from a Minister whose main role is to support businesses across the North and encourage their growth. A failure to introduce vaccine certifications now will see Covid-19 continue to spread throughout our community and heap more pressure on our health service, our businesses and the general public. Vaccine certifications are the best way of allowing our businesses to remain open, while keeping staff and customers safe.
“If the DUP Economy Minister truly believes this is the best way forward then he should go and explain it to our beleaguered health workers who will have to deal with the consequences of his short-sighted call. Some of our hospitals have been put in the position where they are having to turn patients away and Mr Lyons’ answer is to resist attempts to introduce measures to protect our health service.
“Nobody wants to be in this position, in a perfect world there would be no need for restrictions and no pandemic, but we we need to show leadership and take tough decisions to protect the public. Recent polls have indicated the vast majority of people in the North support the introduction of vaccine certification, something Mr Lyons should remember when playing to the anti-vaxxer gallery.
“The SDLP first called for vaccine certifications two months ago when it would have had the maximum benefit to the public and it’s inconceivable that over two months on the DUP are continuing to fight us on this. It’s all the more galling when we have seen a boost in people being vaccinated since this policy was announced and amid concerns about further strains of Covid-19 being identified.”