Over-16s eligible for booster Covid vaccine from Sunday

Initial appointments will be available to book from later this evening
Over-16s eligible for booster Covid vaccine from Sunday

Sarah Mooney

Anyone aged 16 or older will be eligible to receive a booster vaccine against Covid-19 from this Sunday.

Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly announced the acceleration of Ireland’s booster rollout on Friday as the Omicron variant fuels a record surge in cases.

The move means that anyone who received their last vaccine dose more than three months ago and has not had Covid-19 in the meantime can now seek a booster.

From January 2nd, designated vaccination centres will begin appointment-based clinics for those aged under 30 years, the Department of Health said.

Initial appointments will be available to book from later this evening. GPs and community pharmacies will also provide the jab by appointment.

“In order to maintain momentum and build on the additional capacity put in place by the HSE over the last month within our vaccination centres and in primary care, I am delighted to announce that booster vaccination will now be available for all remaining age groups earlier than scheduled,” Mr Donnelly said.

Pfizer vaccine

Both the Minister and the HSE urged those eligible for a first or booster dose to come forward as the rate of Covid infection pushes upwards in Ireland.

The HSE said people aged 16 to 29 years will be offered a single dose of the Pfizer BioNTech vaccine, regardless of which vaccine they received before.

It appealed to those eligible to avail of the booster dose “as it gives you the best protection from serious illness caused by Covid-19.”

“Without a booster dose, people are at greater risk from severe illness from Covid-19, and we are currently seeing the highest level of transmission of Covid-19 since the start of the pandemic,” a statement said.

“We encourage everyone aged 16 or over to attend for their booster, unless they are currently restricting movements because they’re a close contact of a case."

Those aged 16 to 29 wishing to avail of a booster dose must book an appointment online at a clinic for their age group, with more clinics to be added over time.

Ireland has the second-highest uptake for booster vaccines in the EU, Mr Donnelly said. More than two million booster doses have been administered to date, with 130,000 doses administered so far this week.

Over 6,400 people have also presented for their first vaccine dose or second vaccine dose this week.

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