Independent TD stresses she is not 'anti-vax' following Donnelly comments

Verona Murphy TD said she was unable to finish her point in the Dáil on Tuesday due to an interruption by the Minister for Health.
Independent TD stresses she is not 'anti-vax' following Donnelly comments

Vivienne Clarke

Independent TD Verona Murphy has said she was unable to finish her speech in the Dáil regarding Covid-19 vaccinations as she was interrupted by Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly.

“Let me be very clear - I am not anti-vax,” Ms Murphy clarified, stating that the vaccine data she was using came from a recent Lancet study which had concluded that “fully vaccinated individuals with breakthrough infections have peak viral loads similar to unvaccinated cases”.

Ms Murphy mentioned the data during Tuesday's Dáil debate on extending the Government's emergency Covid powers until February 9th, while also accusing members of the Government of using "discriminatory and sinister" language towards unvaccinated people.

Her remarks drew criticism from Mr Donnelly who said: "Deputy that information is false and its really important that members of parliament do not spread anti-vax information like this in the chamber."

It was “absolutely right” that studies had indicated that double vaccination helps people get rid of that viral load quickly, Ms Murphy said on Wednesday. However, studies also showed that more action was needed than just vaccines alone.

"The goal here is to minimise transmission and the reality is there is a whole suite of measures the Government should introduce to support those who are vaccinated," she said.

"Ultimately, we have seen now that the Government has put all the eggs into the vaccination basket. We do not have widespread antigen testing."

Testing

Ms Murphy said she did not want to see vaccine passports done away with - but pointed out that they did not prove someone was not infectious. She added she “100 per cent” believed vaccinated people should be doing an antigen test before meeting vulnerable people in settings like nursing homes.

"What disturbs me about the Minister [for Health]’s intervention yesterday, it’s a very dangerous narrative they’re trying to develop, whereby an opposing view immediately gets branded as anti-vax, that you’re basically right-wing.

"I think that’s a very dangerous position to be putting reasonable TDs, such as Catherine Connolly and Michael McNamara in, who are voicing their opposition based on a democratic process," Ms Murphy said.

“The Covid cert tells you you’re vaccinated, but we now know you can still spread the virus. The antigen test would be so much more effective at the point in time in which you do it,” she added.

The Wexford TD said it was ridiculous that rapid tests were being posted only to people who have been identified as close contacts of a confirmed case, stating Ireland should follow the UK’s example and post at least ten free antigen tests to every home.

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