Fully vaccinated Irish teachers returning from their posts in the Middle East face mandatory hotel quarantine because they received the Chinese-made version of a Covid-19 vaccine that is not recognized by the European Medicines Agency (EMA).
Colm Brophy, Minister of State for Expatriate Affairs, said the situation must be looked at to take the Chinese vaccine into account.
The issue was raised at the Oireachtas Foreign Affairs Committee meeting on Thursday by Fine Gael TD David Stanton who was contacted by a number of affected teachers.
Asked if they would face mandatory hotel quarantine despite receiving a vaccination, Mr Brophy confirmed that only EMA-approved vaccines are considered compatible.
«For those returning teachers who have been vaccinated with a Chinese vaccine, they will be required to quarantine upon their return,» he said.
However, he added, if the World Health Organization recognizes that vaccines are valid, the problem should be studied.
“The overwhelming use… of the Chinese vaccine for people who live in the Middle East. So, the Irish people will come back, and they have been fully vaccinated with the full vaccination certificate.” Vaccine in mind.»
While the commission has not heard specific numbers, it is understood that 2,000 Irish primary and secondary teachers anywhere in the region travel to the region each year, tempted by free flights and tax-free profits.
Speaking to the Irish Times, Michael Gillespie, general secretary of Teachers Union Ireland (TUI), said he would be concerned about the situation and teachers should be given every opportunity to return for interviews at this time of year. .
Meanwhile, on the issue of the backlog of passport applications, Foreign Minister Simon Coveney told the committee that more than 16,400 applications were received last week against nearly 20,700 applications issued.
«So we’re exporting more than we get in terms of orders,» he said. «But that being said, there are still just over 93,000 apps in the system.»
He said the passport service is meeting its goal of returning standard renewals for adults within 10 days, and by the end of next month, this should also apply to children.
“A lot of people are planning to reopen international travel which I think will remind people to look at their passports maybe for the first time in 18 months,” he said. «Suddenly we will find that a lot of people want to renew passports quickly and that will put us under pressure.»
However, the outlook for J1 visas for student travel to the United States this year was not positive, he said, nor was it «actually happening» due to travel restrictions.
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