College to require residents of shared rooms to have valid proof of vaccination

Only students who are fully vaccinated with a Pfizer, Moderna, AstraZeneca or Janssen vaccine are permitted to rent shared bedrooms in College accommodation

Residents occupying shared bedrooms in College accommodation are required to have valid proof vaccination with an EU approved vaccine.

According to the “Return to Campus” document circulated by Provost Linda Doyle last week, “Residents who are sharing a room must have a valid EU Digital Covid Certificate or “evidence of full vaccination with a Covid Vaccine approved in Ireland”.

The four vaccines currently authorised by the European Commission after review by the European Medicines Agency (EMA) are: Comirnaty (Pfizer/BioNTech), Moderna, AstraZeneca (Oxford), and Janssen (Johnson and Johnson).

These vaccines are offered in Ireland’s vaccination programme, across the European Union (EU), and in some other countries around the world.

A number of other vaccines are currently under rolling review by the EMA, including Sinovac and Sputnik vaccines.

In the EU, people are considered fully vaccinated and receive the Digital Covid Certificate 7 days after a second Pfizer dose, 15 days after a second AstraZeneca dose, 14 days after a second Moderna dose and 14 days after the single dose Janseen vaccine.

Across the world, there are 18 other vaccines approved by at least 1 country. A number of countries have approved vaccines not authorized in the EU, as well as offering at least one EMA-approved vaccineThe countries include Brazil, Canada, Ukraine, Hungary, Turkey, United Arab Emirates (UAE), Malaysia, Thailand, India, Nigeria and South Africa.

Meanwhile, China, Russia, Belarus, Turkmenistan, Kyrgyzstan, Myanmar, Laos, Venezuela and Zimbabwe have only approved vaccines not approved in the EU and Ireland.

Only students who are fully vaccinated with an approved vaccine and valid proof may take up residence in a shared room in campus accommodation or Trinity Hall (Halls).

International students who have not had the opportunity to be vaccinated can receive a Covid-19 vaccine in Ireland.

According to the Irish Council for International Students (ICOS); “International students who do not have a PPSN can register to be vaccinated by calling the COVID-19 helpline for free at 1800 700 700.”

International students are also being invited to attend walk-in vaccination centres or clinics and can do so without an appointment.

Students can also receive their second dose of a Pfizer, Moderna or AstraZeneca vaccine in Ireland if they were vaccinated elsewhere, as long as they have proof of their first dose.

However, it appears that students who are fully vaccinated with a vaccine not approved by the EMA are considered unvaccinated.

These students may be able to register to be vaccinated in Ireland. However, testing on the efficacy of mixing vaccines is still underway.

Students previously vaccinated overseas with an unapproved vaccine will not be permitted to rent shared rooms in Trinity accommodation. Rent in shared bedrooms typically costs less than single rooms.

Speaking to Trinity News, a spokesperson for College confirmed that this was the case saying “students in this category will be excluded [from room sharing] as they must have evidence of an EU approved vaccine”.

Asked if anything would be done to help these students who are required to rent the higher cost single rooms, the spokesperson did not directly answer but reiterated the previous statement.

These students will also not be permitted to dine indoors within College catering facilities. In the Return to Campus plan, indoor dining at College cafés and restaurants are subject to the “same rules as apply nationally – allowed with Covid cert”.

Under the reopening roadmap announced by government last week, proof of vaccination or recovery will no longer be required to access restaurants, pubs or other venues indoors from October 22. College’s indoor dining restrictions will be lifted at this time, however it is unclear if the rules for shared bedrooms will be reviewed.

Sarah Emerson

Sarah Emerson is currently a Deputy News Editor of Trinity News. She is a Senior Sophister English Literature and Jewish and Islamic Civilizations Student.