In general, Ireland has managed the COVID-19 pandemic well. While Australia and New Zealand won plaudits initially for the hardline stance of closing borders tightly, it is clear they paid insufficient attention to what a well-administered vaccination programme could contribute. Ireland and the EU did not make that mistake, but Ireland had an extra advantage, in that the public has a high trust in good science and accept the views of well qualified people when they give honest assurances of the worth of vaccination and the very small risk associated with almost every medical treatment, including vaccination.
Farmers are probably among the sections of society most at ease with the concept of vaccination, as it is a routine feature in both sheep and cattle husbandry, as well as in pigs and horses. The public has also been tolerant of having to produce a vaccination certificate and identification when they go into a restaurant or board an aircraft. They accept that it is for the greater good that rules – which some might regard as restrictive – are universally applied. One of the outstanding anomalies is in the workplace, where you would imagine the need for rules would be most obvious. It is striking that while restaurants insist on proof of vaccination, employers are forbidden to do so. This seems to me to lack both logic and common sense.