By James Ward, PA
The coalition leaders are set to meet on Tuesday to discuss the ongoing Covid-19 situation.
Taoiseach Micheál Martin, Tánaiste Leo Varadkar and Green Party leader Eamon Ryan will meet after the country witnessed a number of record-high daily case tallies over the last week, driven by the Omicron variant.
It is understood the leaders will discuss a potential shortening of isolation periods, amid fears over a shortage of health care workers, with thousands of enforced absences due to Covid-19.
Meanwhile, the HSE has announced parents can now register children aged five to 11 for Covid-19 vaccines, with the rollout set to begin imminently.
Registration can be done online, and parents will receive a text message confirming their appointment.
The HSE has urged the public to consider bringing their children forward for vaccination.
“Clinical trials showed that this vaccine was highly effective at preventing Covid-19 in children,” a statement said.
#COVIDVaccine registration is now open for all children aged 5-11.
To register your child for a vaccine, you’ll need:
📱your mobile phone number
✉️your email address
👤your child’s PPS number
📍your child’s Eircode
Register: https://t.co/O9azIrrlua pic.twitter.com/pfH85shBHg
— HSE Ireland (@HSELive) January 3, 2022
“Though serious illness from Covid-19 is rare in this age group, they are even less likely to become seriously ill with Covid-19 if they are vaccinated.
“All vaccines are tested before they are approved for use in Ireland by the European Medicines Agency.
“We know from listening to parents that they have questions and concerns about the Covid-19 vaccine.
“Parents should get their information from a trusted source, such as hse.ie or a medical professional when making the decision to vaccinate their child.”
Parents are advised they will need a PPS number, Eircode, mobile phone number and email address to register online.
Alternatively, they can call HSELive on 1800 700 700 to register their child over the phone.
Children who do not have a PPS number can still be vaccinated, but their parents must register them on the phone with the HSE.
Once a parent registers their child, they will receive a text message with details of their appointment.
The vaccines will be given in vaccination centres.
In line with guidance from the National Immunisation Advisory Council (NIAC), children will be offered the Pfizer vaccine, but in a smaller dose than that given to adults.
They will need two doses about three weeks apart. The protection they get has been shown to be similar to the protection the Pfizer vaccine provides for adults, the HSE said.
Parental consent will be required for children to be vaccinated.
“Where possible, the child’s parent or legal guardian should attend the vaccination appointment with their child,” the HSE said.
“If the parent or legal guardian has given consent online in advance, it is possible for them to ask another adult to bring their child to the appointment.
“If consent has not been given yet, the child’s parent or legal guardian has to be there.”
Over the weekend, the vaccine booster programme opened up to those aged 16 to 29.
Turnout was steady on Monday morning at the Co Monaghan vaccination centre at the Glencarn Hotel in Castleblaney.
Among those turning out to get jabbed was 12-year-old Leo McGeough, who was accompanied by his mother Amy Rooney as he went to receive his second dose.
Ms Rooney told the PA news agency: “It was very nice, they made him feel very comfortable. We booked it in. It was very quick.
“This time last year we would have had Covid. I suppose, like a lot of families now, we were quite affected by it.
“We’re determined not to have it this year. But we got through it.
“It’s very hard to see it affecting so many people, especially young people.”
Leo added: “It was quick. It did sting, but it was OK.
“Honestly, I’m excited for school just to see my friends. I just miss with playing with them.”
— Department of Health (@roinnslainte) January 3, 2022
Ms Rooney added: “That (school closures) was the hardest part of last year. We’re hoping not to go back to that again.”
Monday saw a further 16,986 confirmed cases of Covid-19, the Department of Health said.
As of 8am on Monday, there were 804 patients in hospital with the disease, an increase of 87 on the previous day, with 93 in intensive care, up six.