FTA Ireland (FTAI) is the latest organisation to say international transport workers need to be offered COVID-19 vaccinations as a matter of urgency.
Similar calls have also been made by the Road Haulage Association and some freight ferry operators urging government to place drivers next in line for the vaccination roll out.
Aidan Flynn, General Manager of FTAI, comments: “It is inconceivable that international transport workers – the individuals we rely on to provide the nation with the essential goods it needs – are at risk of not receiving their COVID-19 vaccine for many months.
“With approximately 3,000 haulage drivers per week making the journey from the Republic of Ireland to Great Britain or continental Europe, FTAI is urging Stephen Donnelly TD, the Minister for Health, to provide urgent confirmation on when these vital workers will receive their jabs.
“While many countries require proof of a negative antigen test before hauliers can travel – and this offers some protection – the testing regime is costly, cumbersome, and acts as a barrier to smooth trade flows while failing to guarantee the safety of workers.
“And with the Irish government considering implementing stronger restrictions on international travel – mandatory home quarantine after overseas travel – vaccination is the only option to preserve international connectivity while providing drivers and their families with peace of mind that they are being kept as safe as possible.”