Second booster vaccine approved for everyone aged 65 and older

A second booster vaccine against Covid-19 has been approved for everyone aged 65 and over in Ireland.

The administration of second boosters is likely to start within weeks, Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly said following a recommendation by the National Immunization Advisory Committee (Niac).

Niac recommended that the second booster be given at least six months after the first, though this interval can be reduced to four months in certain circumstances.

The Minister has also accepted Niac’s recommendation that a second booster, or fifth dose, be given to immunocompromised people aged 12 years and older.

Immunocompromised children aged five to 11 years should complete an extended primary course, ie three vaccine doses, Niac advised.

In recent months, Ireland has experienced a massive surge of Covid cases, driven by the spread of the Omicron/BA.2 variants. Most fully vaccinated and boosted people are considered to be well protected, but waning protection from vaccines has left older and immunocompromised people at risk.

Confirmed cases in hospital Confirmed cases in ICU



“Those who are unvaccinated or incompletely vaccinated continue to be disproportionately affected and account for approximately a third of hospitalizations for Covid-19,” Mr Donnelly said.

“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.”

Niac has highlighted the importance of children and adolescents aged 12-15 years and older completing their primary course of vaccines by receiving a booster dose, while those aged five to 11 years should complete a primary course of two doses.

More than 700,000 people have received two primary vaccine shots but not a booster shot.

Niac reiterated its previous recommendation that all pregnant women should be offered the vaccine.

Mr Donnelly added: “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.”

Roll out

Speaking about the rollout on Wednesday morning, Mr Donnelly told RTÉ’s Morning Ireland the Health Service Executive was already “pre-planning” and the second booster would be rolled out quickly.

He said that assuming many people in the 65+ age group received their booster last November or December, they would be looking at having a second booster jab in May or June.

He said evidence from Niac showed that an additional booster would provide significant extra protection against the virus.

“We have about 700,000 people who have had the first two doses so they are very much on board with vaccine. They haven’t yet had their booster vaccine. Niac reiterated how important it is for them to get the booster,” the Minister said.

“They also reiterated how important it is for pregnant women at any stage of pregnancy to get the vaccination as well.”

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