INMO urges Government to extend vaccine boosters to healthcare workers

No date was given for when healthcare workers can expect to receive a booster jab
INMO urges Government to extend vaccine boosters to healthcare workers

James Cox

The Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation (INMO) has urged the Government to extend the vaccine booster programme to healthcare workers.

At a briefing on the latest easing of restrictions on Friday, Taoiseach Micheál Martin confirmed vaccine boosters for over-60s would begin “immediately”.

No date was given for when healthcare workers can expect to receive a booster jab.

The INMO is calling on the Government to include healthcare workers in their plans for an immediate rollout of the booster vaccination programme, as a 'health and safety imperative'.

NMO General Secretary Phil Ní Sheaghdha said: “It is disappointing that Niac have not advised that healthcare workers receive the vaccine at this stage in the booster vaccine campaign. The Government needs to step up now and make the right decision to include healthcare workers in the next phase of the vaccination campaign.

“In the last month the number of Covid infections has increased amongst healthcare workers, with nurses and midwives representing the highest cohort of those infected. In the last month over 371 nurses and midwives were infected.”

Healthcare workers are receiving vaccine boosters in Northern Ireland, England, Canada, South Africa and many parts of the USA. Why are we not following their lead?

Ms Ní Sheaghda added: “Many in the over-60 cohort that Niac has recommended receive a booster in the coming weeks would have received the AstraZeneca vaccine. Many healthcare workers received this vaccine in late January and February. They should be prioritised for an mRNA vaccine booster.

“Healthcare workers are receiving vaccine boosters in Northern Ireland, England, Canada, South Africa and many parts of the USA. Why are we not following their lead? Why are we contemplating delaying protecting those on the frontline who are already working in overcrowded conditions?

“Our members have been on the frontline dealing with non-Covid and Covid patients. Our hospitals are not just full, they are overcrowded. This airborne infection poses a high risk of breakthrough infection to those already vaccinated, and the health services are obliged, in accordance with the Safety Health and Welfare protocol dealing with the biological hazard Covid-19, to provide all necessary protections, including vaccines, where they are available, to afford maximum protections available to those exposed to this hazard. This therefore is a legal requirement on the employer to provide boosters to frontline healthcare workers in our view.”

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