The Government has announced that those aged 65 year and over as well as those who are immunocompromised will receive a second booster dose of the Covid-19 vaccine.
NIAC has issued new advice that people in those cohorts should receive a second booster jab four to six months after they were first boosted.
Health Minister Stephen Donnelly says the HSE will now work on the rollout of the latest dose for those who need it. Work has been ongoing between the Department and HSE regarding the Covid-19 mid-term vaccination strategy.
The recommendations were made last night by the National Immunisation Advisory Committee (NIAC) to the chief medical officer (CMO).
As well as recommending a second mRNA booster for all those aged over 65, they recommended those aged 12 years and older, who are immunocompromised, receive a second booster or fifth dose.
Those who are immunocompromised aged 5-11 years are advised to complete an extended primary course (total of three vaccine doses).
NIAC reiterated its previous recommendation that pregnant women and adolescents from 12 years of age should be offered mRNA Covid-19 primary and booster vaccination at any stage of pregnancy.
Speaking about the announcement, Minister Donnelly said: “I welcome today’s update to Ireland’s vaccination programme. Covid-19 vaccines have achieved extraordinary success in preventing severe disease, hospitalisation and death. These vaccines continue to have a very good safety profile with hundreds of millions of doses administrated globally.
“Those who are unvaccinated or incompletely vaccinated continue to be disproportionality affected and account for approximately a third of hospitalisations for Covid-19. As such, I urge anyone for whom an additional dose of vaccine has been recommended, or anyone yet to receive their primary course or booster vaccine do so as soon as possible.
“I have asked the NIAC to continue to actively examine the evidence regarding the likely benefit of a second booster to other groups, vaccine choice and interval in order to make further recommendations in this regard.”
NIAC have also pointed out the importance of building in flexibility and responsiveness to the Covid-19 vaccination programme to allow for a rapid and dynamic response to changes in viral transmission and disease severity.
📢Today we're announcing that those aged 65 years and older and those who are immunocompromised should receive a further booster dose of COVID-19 Vaccine following advice from the National Immunisation Advisory Committee. pic.twitter.com/h364UG0xfE
— Stephen Donnelly (@DonnellyStephen) April 6, 2022