Dominic McGrath, PA
The chair of the National Immunisation Advisory Committee (Niac) has said offering vaccinations to teenagers will give them a route back to a normal life.
In a video posted online by the Department of Health, Prof Karina Butler offered parents advice as the vaccine rollout prepares to extend to children aged 12-15.
The advice comes as the department confirmed 1,314 additional cases of Covid-19. As of 8am on Wednesday morning there were 187 people in hospital with the virus, 30 of whom were in ICU.
“We feel it will be a step towards giving children the wider benefit and normalising their life experience as they have suffered greatly during the pandemic from all those extra curtailments of life,” Prof Butler said.
The HSE is planning to begin vaccinating children in the next two weeks.
Prof Butler said: “We would absolutely encourage those who have underlying medical conditions that put them at higher risk of Covid to avail of the vaccine as soon as it is offered.
“We would also strongly encourage parents of children who are living in households with anyone else who is vulnerable, either a younger child with an underlying health condition or perhaps an older adult who might not have responded as well to the vaccine, for example, if they had an immune-compromised condition, to avail of the vaccine as soon as they can.”
She said most children do recover well from the virus, but there can be complications.
“We don’t know everything about the long Covid. In general, the data in children is very reassuring,” Prof Butler said.
On Tuesday, the Government announced the State has completed a deal to purchase 700,000 Covid-19 vaccines from Romania, while more than 30,000 people were vaccinated at walk-in centres around the country over the bank holiday weekend.
Around 73 per cent of the adult population is now fully vaccinated and 87 per cent have received a first dose.