Covid-19 vaccine boosters should be made available to people of all ages in addition to the priority groups of older and vulnerable people, a leading immunologist has said.
As the Irish Examiner reports, a second round of boosters is currently under way here for over-65s and immunocompromised people over-12
It means they can have four jabs while everyone else over the age of 12 has been offered three shots.
The European Medicines Agency this week advised a second booster for all over-60s.
A chair of comparative immunology at Trinity College Dublin, professor Cliona O'Farrelly, said: “I suspect everyone should be getting a booster. Omicron is different, the immunity against one variant isn’t always as good as against another so we need to boost it.”
She added it would “absolutely” benefit people of all ages, including young people.
Prof O’Farrelly, who is a member of the Covid-19 Advisory Group which replaced Nphet, said vaccines have done “an incredible job” protecting people against severe illness.
"Our country would be just in such a state if we didn’t have the high level of vaccination that we do.
“People want to forget pandemics. Everybody has forgotten what Italy looked like at the beginning, I think it will be very useful to remind everyone.
"With the amount of Omicron that is around in Ireland at the moment, if we didn’t have the vaccines, that is what we would look like.”
She said that GPs have seen patients who are reluctant to take the Moderna vaccine after becoming used to Pfizer’s in previous rounds.
“It is much, much more important that they get the booster as soon as they can,” she said.
It is much more important that they get the booster rather than worry about which one.
In terms of new vaccines under development, she said a nasal vaccine, as it is already available against the flu, would be useful, especially for people with needle phobias.