Minister for Health announces those aged 65 years and older and those who are immunocompromised should receive a second booster dose of COVID-19 Vaccine

Published on: 08 April 2022


The Minister for Health, Stephen Donnelly TD, has accepted new recommendations in relation to Ireland’s COVID-19 vaccination programme

 

Work has been ongoing between the Department and the HSE regarding the COVID-19 mid-term vaccination strategy. The recommendations made last night by the National Immunisation Advisory Committee (NIAC) to the Chief Medical Officer (CMO), who has endorsed these recommendations, will greatly assist in informing and guiding the operational planning required for the COVID-19 immunisation programme.

 

  • NIAC has recommended a second mRNA booster (fourth dose) for all those aged 65 years and older 
  • NIAC has also recommended that those aged 12 years and older, who are immunocompromised, receive a second booster (fifth dose), and, 
  • Those who are immunocompromised aged 5-11 years should complete an extended primary course (total of three vaccine doses). 

In addition, NIAC has highlighted the importance of: 

 

·        NIAC has reiterated its previous recommendation that pregnant women and adolescents from 12 years of age should be offered mRNA COVID-19 primary and booster vaccination at any stage of pregnancy.

 

NIAC has also underscored the importance of children and adolescents aged 12 years-15 years and older completing their primary course and receiving a booster dose, while those aged 5-11 years should complete a primary course of two doses. 

 

  • NIAC continue to recommend that people get and complete their primary vaccine course and booster shot if they haven’t already done so. This is irrespective of a history of a previous COVID-19 infection.

 

Minister Donnelly said: “I welcome today’s update to Ireland’s vaccination programme. COVID-19 vaccines have achieved extraordinary success in preventing severe disease, hospitalisation and death. These vaccines continue to have a very good safety profile with hundreds of millions of doses administrated globally.

“Those who are unvaccinated or incompletely vaccinated continue to be disproportionality affected and account for approximately a third of hospitalisations for COVID-19. As such, I urge anyone for whom an additional dose of vaccine has been recommended, or anyone yet to receive their primary course or booster vaccine do so as soon as possible.

“I have asked the NIAC to continue to actively examine the evidence regarding the likely benefit of a second booster to other groups, vaccine choice and interval in order to make further recommendations in this regard.”

NIAC have also pointed out the importance of building in flexibility and responsiveness to the COVID-19 vaccination programme to allow for a rapid and dynamic response to changes in viral transmission and disease severity.

The Department of Health and the HSE will now work to operationalise these updates.

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