Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly said Ireland has the second highest booster vaccine uptake among adults in the EU, as the number of Covid patients in ICU drops to its lowest level in almost two months.
Since Monday, over 386,000 people have received a booster dose of Covid-19 vaccines in a combination of walk-in vaccination centres, appointments based systems in vaccination centres and from their local GP and pharmacies.
A total of 1.84 million additional Covid-19 vaccines have been administered since the booster programme began. On Thursday, 83,872 vaccines were administered.
Over 8,200 people have also presented for their first vaccine dose or second vaccine dose this week.
In a statement on Friday, Minister Donnelly thanked those involved with the vaccination booster programme, particularly given the expansion of the programme announced this week.
“I don’t underestimate the logistical challenges that these demands have placed on the HSE, but it has responded brilliantly,” he said.
Thank you to all our health and social care workers, who have done such an outstanding job throughout another challenging year. Would like to wish you all a very Merry Christmas @roinnslainte @HSELive @AmbulanceNAS pic.twitter.com/y5nR43J2vI
— Stephen Donnelly (@DonnellyStephen) December 24, 2021
“I’d like to thank everyone working in our health and social care services. That includes everyone working in our hospitals and in the community, as well as those working in GP and dental practices, pharmacies, nursing homes, our ambulance service, the Department of Health and other public bodies and teams.”
Two million boosters
Damian McCallion, the HSE lead for the vaccination programme, said the booster campaign should hit the two million mark in the coming days.
Overall, the system was “working well”, he said. It will be closed for Christmas Day and December 26th, before reopening on the 27th.
From December 29th, the vaccination campaign will expand to include people aged 30 to 39 years through vaccination centres and pharmacies. Some GPs were already vaccinating this group, he said.
Those who received the one shot Janssen dose will also be offered the booster vaccine from December 29th, this will initially be through GPs and pharmacies and eventually through vaccination centres.
Mr McCallion added that from January 10th all other adults aged 16 to 29 years will be able to avail of the booster vaccine and children aged five years to 11 years will be able to get their first dose.
Children with underlying health conditions will be offered their vaccination from January 3rd, along with children where there are vulnerable people in their household. The portal for appointments will open on December 28th.