Vaccine for kids will reduce close contacts and protect vulnerable children, says Cork GP

NIAC recommended to Government that jabs should be offered to around 480,000 primary school children
Vaccine for kids will reduce close contacts and protect vulnerable children, says Cork GP

Former Lord Mayor and Blackpool-based GP Dr John Sheehan welcomed the development. “The evidence for vaccinations generally in the population has been very strong, particularly for booster vaccinations,” he said.

A Cork GP has said the National Immunisation Advisory Committee’s (NIAC) recommendation that Covid-19 vaccination should be offered to all children aged five to 11 years could significantly reduce close contacts and protect vulnerable children.

Yesterday, NIAC recommended to Government that jabs should be offered to around 480,000 primary school children.

The State’s vaccine advisory body signed off on their use, with the rollout expected to take place from next month. The dose for this age group will be lower than those given to adults.

Former Lord Mayor and Blackpool-based GP Dr John Sheehan welcomed the development.

“The evidence for vaccinations generally in the population has been very strong, particularly for booster vaccinations,” he said.

“And as we’ve seen recently with the number of new cases coming up in school children, they’re the significant group that has been left at risk.” 

Dr Sheehan added that rollout would be particularly important for reducing close contacts. 

“Vaccinations for other conditions such as polio, whooping cough, and meningitis have been really beneficial for young people and I think this is a further step in terms of protecting vulnerable children,” he said.

“Most children who get Covid are going to be okay but this is particularly important for vulnerable children.”

CHRISTMAS

“The risk of transmission for household contacts is also a big concern, particularly coming up to Christmas, so overall I think the sooner it’s operational and rolled out the better.”

The minister for health has accepted the new recommendations that children aged five to 11 with an underlying condition, living with a younger child with complex medical needs or with an immunocompromised adult should receive Comirnaty, the Covid-19 vaccine developed by Pfizer/BioNTech.

These three categories will now be prioritised for vaccination at the same time as others with underlying conditions.

BOOSTERS

Taoiseach Micheál Martin said that an information plan will be published within days.

“Niac have now made recommendations around the administration of paediatric vaccines,” he told the Dáil.

“They have recommended the following — that children aged five to 11 years with an underlying condition, living with a younger child with complex medical needs, or living with a immunocompromised adult should receive the Pfizer vaccine.

“This should be offered in parallel with booster doses for those with an underlying condition.

“The Department of Health and the HSE are now working on a plan involving the information campaign and we will do that and be back in a number of days with a plan.”

Meanwhile, Mr Martin said he did not intend to blame people for not showing up to vaccine booster appointments, but rather show that there is not the same public urgency.

The Fianna Fáil leader told the Dáil on Tuesday that 215,000 appointments for Covid-19 booster shots were missed in the last two weeks.

He said that in the week beginning November 22, some 208,000 appointments were made, but about 80,000 people turned up to receive their booster shot.

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