A CORK GP has welcomed the recommendation for those over 65 years of age to receive a fourth dose of the Covid-19 vaccine.
John Sheehan, of Blackpool Bridge Surgery, and also a Fianna Fáil city councillor, said it was “good news” and it will give those who may be feeling afraid or nervous again “a boost of confidence”.
The National Immunisation Advisory Committee (NIAC) has recommended a fourth Covid vaccine dose for everyone aged 65 and older.
It also recommended a second booster for those aged 12 and older who are immunocompromised, and children aged five to 11 who are immunocompromised should complete an extended primary course, which is a total of three vaccine doses.
Speaking on RTÉ’s Morning Ireland, Health Minister Stephen Donnelly said he accepted NIAC’s advice and that planning had already begun in the HSE for the rollout of the vaccine.
Dr Sheehan said there had been confusion regarding the changing definition of immunocompromised and that it “wasn’t clear who was meant to get it and who was not” but that now “there is a clear recommendation that everyone over 65 should get a second booster dose which is much more straightforward and easier to implement and much clearer for patients”.
He said the majority of GPs have finished administering the vaccine and that the fourth dose would be available from the North Main St Vaccination Centre in Cork City or from participating pharmacies.
Dr Sheehan said that two years of Covid-19 has “taken a huge toll” on people, particularly the elderly, who he said will get a confidence boost from this fourth dose.
Echoing his comments, local advocate of the elderly Paddy O’Brien recommended that those aged over 65 get their next dose of the vaccine as soon as possible.
Speaking to The Echo, Mr O’Brien said: “We didn’t get through Covid on our own. We got through with the vaccines and the booster vaccines and I would recommend the elderly to get it because for those aged over 60 your immune system isn’t as good as it used to be and one has to be very careful. By all means, it will improve and help people and improve quality of life and they’re [NIAC] advising us to do this because they don’t want people to become ill again.”
He said that the vaccination will give people confidence and “allay the fears that they experience and the anxiety they experience on a daily basis”.