Booster vaccine authorised for healthcare workers

Booster vaccine authorised for healthcare workers

Booster Covid-19 vaccinations have been authorised for healthcare workers.

Booster Covid-19 vaccinations have been authorised for healthcare workers.

Health Minister Stephen Donnelly tweeted news of the development on Monday evening, saying the doses will start to be administered this weekend.

Mr Donnelly confirmed he made the move after receiving advice from the National Immunisation Advisory Committee (NIAC).

He said NIAC has advised that the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines can be used regardless of the initial vaccine course.

Earlier, there were calls from the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation (INMO) for healthcare workers to receive a booster amid rising case numbers and growing pressures on hospitals.

About 3,500 healthcare workers are believed to be off work due to a Covid-related illness.

Phil Ni Sheaghdha, general secretary of the INMO, said on Monday it appeared that healthcare workers were picking up the virus in hospitals.

"We need to ensure that the vaccine booster is provided so that we have the maximum protection," she said on RTÉ radio.

This evening, the INMO issued a statement on the decision: “The INMO welcomes that the decision to extend vaccine boosters to healthcare workers.

“This decision was made later than we would have liked. We now need to see a rapid rollout of the vaccine boosters to healthcare workers to make up for lost time. The vaccine supply and capacity to do so is there.

“A lot needs to happen now to keep our hospitals safe for the winter. We can see from today’s trolley figures and the number of healthcare workers who are on COVID-related leave that unless the Minister for Health and the HSE produce a credible winter plan that our hospitals will be in a bad place this winter.”

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