Everyone over 12 will need a booster vaccine - virologist

Virology expert Dr Gerald Barry has said that the country has been “backed into a corner” and that booster vaccines will be necessary for everyone over the age of 12
Everyone over 12 will need a booster vaccine - virologist

Vivienne Clarke

Virology expert Dr Gerald Barry has said that the country has been “backed into a corner” and that booster vaccines will be necessary for everyone over the age of 12.

“I don’t see any other way to reduce cases,” he told RTÉ radio’s Today with Claire Byrne show.

The current public health policies were not able to “keep a lid” on the number of cases. Booster vaccines were being used to control infection rates, he said.

Ultimately the main reason why healthcare workers were going to receive booster vaccines was to protect them from infection so they could continue to work, they were not necessary to protect them from serious illness.

This was a good reason for a booster campaign, he said, but one could argue that if there were better public health policies in place then such a campaign would not be necessary.

For healthcare workers who had been vaccinated last December or January, their immunity would have begun to wane during the summer, but it was only now that a booster campaign was being discussed because of the rise in cases, he said.

If the number of cases in the community was being controlled then there would not be a need for boosters.

PCR testing

Simple measures such as increased antigen testing, easier access to PCR testing and a greater focus on ventilation were simple measures that could be introduced. There should be a centre for PCR testing in every town, he added.

Dr Barry said that boosters would be required “to get us through this winter” but the country could be entering into a cycle of booster vaccinations, and he was worried if the public would accept that.

The country should be preparing for every eventuality, rather than reacting. There should be better policies in place to manage the problem, he said “rather than lurching from crisis to crisis.”

The vaccination campaign had been “sold to us” as a solution to the problem, but it was not enough. Rather than the Government trying to do as much as it could possibly do, it should be “turned back” to the public to do what they needed to do, urged Dr Barry.

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