DUP challenged to clarify stance on vaccines

The DUP has been urged to “clarify” its position on coronavirus vaccinations by the UUP.

By The Newsroom
Wednesday, 1st December 2021, 8:15 am
Updated Wednesday, 1st December 2021, 8:50 am

Alan Chambers, a UUP MLA who sits on the Stormont health committee, suggestedthe DUP have been guilty of “mixed messaging” on vaccination policy and challenged the DUP leadership to state if all its elected members are expected to adhere to the party line.

The DUP leadership has taken a pro-vaccine stance from the outset of the roll-out, but has recently opposed the introduction of so-called vaccine passports for the hospitality industry.

Mr Chambers said: “The DUP leadership need to ensure the party is not speaking out of both sides of its mouth on vaccination. This is a public health issue of extreme importance and the public are entitled to consistency and clear leadership from all those in positions of responsibility.

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“While Sir Jeffrey Donaldson and Paul Givan are rightly extolling the benefits of booster doses, some of their party colleagues are still being less than supportive of vaccination. This behaviour continues with no sign of any consequences for those involved, in stark contrast to the DUP’s past tradition of strict party discipline.”

He challenged the party to address a number of questions.

“Is it DUP policy to support vaccination and encourage people to get vaccinated against Covid-19?

“If so, are all DUP elected representatives expected to adhere to this policy; does the DUP support the provision of Covid-19 vaccination for 12-17 year olds, as recommended by the JCVI?

“If so, do all DUP elected representatives support this policy?

“Will the DUP affirm that the current Covid-19 vaccines are ethical and reject any insinuations to the contrary from within its own ranks?”

The News Letter has invited the DUP to respond.

Meanwhile, DUP MLA Jonathan Buckley has reiterated his party’s opposition to the introduction of so-called vaccine passports.

“The partial U-turn by Health Minister Robin Swann on vaccine passports is just a first step.

“The entire policy was ill-considered and ill-thought-out. The pro-passport ministers should recognise their error in judgment and revisit the entire decision. This divisive issue was a distraction rather than a solution.”

He added: “For this climbdown to be announced after five o’clock on a Friday evening shows massive disrespect to the hospitality sector.”