Taoiseach: Primary school children could get Covid jab in the New Year

Mr Martin said giving the vaccines to primary school children is "on the horizon and on the agenda."
Taoiseach: Primary school children could get Covid jab in the New Year

However, the Taoiseach has acknowledged that it is unlikely that the five to 11 age group will receive their vaccines before Christmas. Picture: Jim Coughlan.

Ireland will commence giving Covid-19 jabs to primary school children if European Regulators approve such a measure according to Taoiseach Micheal Martin.

However, the Taoiseach has acknowledged that it is unlikely that the five to 11 age group will receive their vaccines before Christmas.

The Taoiseach made the remark at the launch of College Awareness Week this morning at Terence McSwiney College in Knocknaheeny on the northside of Cork city.

Pictured at Terence MacSwiney Community College is Taoiseach Micheál Martin TD, with Denis Leamy, Chief Executive Cork ETB, Phil O'Flynn, Principal, John Fitzgibbon, Director of Further Education and Training, Cork ETB and Pat McKelvey, Director of Schools, Cork ETB. Picture: Jim Coughlan.
Pictured at Terence MacSwiney Community College is Taoiseach Micheál Martin TD, with Denis Leamy, Chief Executive Cork ETB, Phil O'Flynn, Principal, John Fitzgibbon, Director of Further Education and Training, Cork ETB and Pat McKelvey, Director of Schools, Cork ETB. Picture: Jim Coughlan.

Mr Martin said that pending approval from NIAC and the European Medicines Agency the jabs for younger children may begin next year.

" We will have to go to Niac here but I would support the roll out to children in due course once it’s authorised by the relevant authorities who have the clinical expertise to make that recommendation but that’s something we will look at very closely."

We have to get the recommendation from the EMA, similar to the FDA and that I believe is due within the next week or two. But then there will be a different calibration here because the dosage for children will be much lower than the dosage for adults so that is a difference.

“You are looking at a much lower volume of vaccine for children compared to adults but it’s something on the horizon and on the agenda but again it’s all in the context of the advice we will receive from Niac and the medical experts."

Mr Martin said giving the vaccines to primary school children is "on the horizon and on the agenda."

"The CMO and others are conscious of what's going on in the European level and what's going on in the United States in terms of FDA approval and the research on the vaccine and children and its efficacy."

Pictured at Terence MacSwiney Community College is Taoiseach Micheál Martin TD, with students Ciara Hegarty Rodgers and Aimee Cunneen, Phil O'Flynn, Principal, students and Denis Leamy, Chief Executive Cork ETB. 
Pictured at Terence MacSwiney Community College is Taoiseach Micheál Martin TD, with students Ciara Hegarty Rodgers and Aimee Cunneen, Phil O'Flynn, Principal, students and Denis Leamy, Chief Executive Cork ETB. 

Meanwhile, Mr Martin said he would reiterate what the Chief Medical Officer (Tony Holohan) said this morning that we can reduce the spread of this virus.

"I think even some of the steps that people have taken are welcome and I think that reflects that people are responding in a common sense and sensible way to the situation that we now face.

I do believe we can make progress on this and we can reduce the spread of the virus across society and across the country, and reduce the pressure on our health services.

"And then parallel with that, the booster campaign will have its impact as it continues to be rolled out - over half a million boosters at this stage now have been administered and that will have an impact on those critical age cohorts that are more likely to end up in intensive care and in hospitals.” 

He added that we are in a different phase of the pandemic so the response doesn’t necessarily have to be similar to the response of the past when we didn’t have mass vaccination.

“So we have overall a very high rate of vaccination which is protecting the population to a huge extent from having to be admitted to hospital or to ICUs or from severe illness. The real issue here is the severe illness that people get from COVID-19. It is a dangerous disease.

"It is not the flu as some people sometimes relate it to.

"It can have very damaging impact on people both in terms of long-term Covid and in terms of having to be hospitalised so we need to get it down.

"And I think the vaccination has helped."

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