A Cork-based expert has said that people should avail of Covid-19 vaccines being offered to them under the expansion of the booster campaign for people under the age of 65.
Speaking to The Echo, senior lecturer at the School of Biochemistry and Cell Biology at University College Cork (UCC) Dr Anne Moore, said that vaccines currently available are “very good at preventing moderate and severe disease”.
“I think the vaccines that are there, including the mRNA vaccines, are very good at preventing moderate and severe disease against all variants so far.
“There probably are new vaccines coming along that are against Omicron but I think if it’s recommended that you should get a vaccine I would take whatever vaccine is there at the moment because it is increasing your immunity again.
“There is a fair question in that none of us know what’s going to happen long term and whether we’ll have to repeatedly get Covid vaccines every few months, hopefully not, but I think eventually we won’t.
Dr Moore’s comments come following Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly’s acceptance of the National Immunisation Advisory Committee’s (NIAC) new recommendations in relation to Ireland’s Covid-19 vaccination programme.
The recommendations were made by NIAC to the Interim Chief Medical Officer (CMO) and include a first mRNA booster vaccine for those aged 5 to11 years who are immunocompromised, a second mRNA booster vaccine for those aged 50 to 64 years, a second mRNA booster vaccine for those aged 12 to 49 years who have an underlying medical condition or are residents of long-term care facilities, a second mRNA booster vaccine for pregnant women at 16 weeks or later who have not already received a booster vaccine in their current pregnancy, a second mRNA booster vaccine for healthcare workers, and a third mRNA booster vaccine for those aged 65 years and older and those aged 12 to 64 years who are immunocompromised.
NIAC has also recommended that Covid-19 vaccines may be given at the same time as the seasonal influenza vaccines. Booster doses should be given four months after a previous Covid-19 vaccine dose or a previous natural infection.
Speaking about the recommendations, Minister Donnelly said: “We have very high protection in the population thanks to our successful vaccine programme. The Autumn vaccination programme will ensure we continue to protect the most vulnerable in our communities.”