The HSE’s lead for infection control, professor Martin Cormican has said there is no shortage of vaccines for the additional dose and booster campaigns for the immunocompromised and vulnerable.
Prof. Cormican told RTÉ radio’s Morning Ireland that people did not have to contact the HSE, they would be contacted with an appointment. “We have enough vaccines for everyone.”
“Getting vaccinated is like getting your immune system ready for a big match against the virus,” he explained.
“For most of us our immune team is ready for action after the standard vaccine dose, for some people whose immune system is starting from a lower base, it is weaker, they need an extra training session, an extra vaccine dose to get them ready for that match and that's what the additional dose is about for the immunocompromised. It's getting them ready for that if they meet the virus.
He said the other part is people who were match ready six months ago, but their immune system has gotten a bit out of condition over the last six months and another vaccine gives them extra protection.
Prof Cormican added “That's the two things that are happening. One is getting people whose immune system was starting from a weak base, getting that match ready, and that means the extra vaccine dose is given two months at least after they had their standard course."
The immunocompromised group included everybody over the age of 12 who is immunocompromised, but those over 16 would be contacted first.
“There will be a little delay for people 12-15, that's because in many cases they haven't reached the two-month interval yet because they were vaccinated later," he said.
People aged 80 and over will be offered the booster dose whether they live in their own homes or in a nursing home. In most cases they will get the dose through their GP.
For people aged 65 and over in nursing homes or other residential facilities the vaccination teams will come to them, he added.
International reports indicated that there would be a lot of the flu virus around, so it was important for people to get their flu vaccine, he said. This would be distributed as in previous years – through GPs and pharmacies.