Thursday, 16 September 2021

Questions (310)

Brendan Smith


310. Deputy Brendan Smith asked the Minister for Health when it is expected to finalise arrangements for a Covid-19 vaccination booster programme; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [44419/21]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

More than seven million doses of COVID-19 vaccine have now been administered since the programme began in December last year. As the current phase of vaccination is nearing completion, the National Immunisation Advisory Committee (NIAC) has been examining evidence regarding booster vaccines.

On 8 September, I announced a further update to the Covid-19 vaccination programme following additional advice from the NIAC. The NIAC has now recommended that a booster dose of an mRNA vaccine (irrespective of whether the primary vaccination course was of an mRNA or adenoviral vector) for residents aged 65 years and older living in Long Term Residential Care Facilities and for those aged 80 years and older living in the community.

The booster dose can be given after a minimal interval of six months following completion of the primary vaccination schedule. I have accepted this advice and the HSE has been requested to make the necessary arrangements to operationalise the recommendations.

The NIAC continues to examine emerging evidence regarding booster vaccines for those with waning immunity and reduced effectiveness in other groups.