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Vaccination Programme

Dáil Éireann Debate, Thursday - 25 November 2021

Thursday, 25 November 2021

Questions (344)

Louise O'Reilly


344. Deputy Louise O'Reilly asked the Minister for Health if there are plans to prioritise groups (details supplied) for vaccine booster shots; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [58129/21]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

The immunisation programme in Ireland is based on the advice of the National Immunisation Advisory Committee (NIAC). The NIAC makes recommendations on vaccination policy to my Department based on the prevalence of the relevant disease in Ireland and international best practices in relation to immunisation.

On 15 November the NIAC recommended that a booster of an mRNA vaccine be offered to persons aged 16-59 years with underlying conditions, all residents in Long Term Healthcare Facilities and persons aged 50-59 years. The Chief Medical Officer has endorsed the latest NIAC recommendations and written to the HSE to request that the recommendations be operationalised as soon as possible.

The NIAC has previously recommended that a booster dose of an mRNA vaccine (irrespective of whether the primary vaccination course was of an mRNA or adenoviral vector) be offered to those aged 60 years and older and healthcare workers. The booster dose should be given after an interval of six months (or at least five months) following the last dose of any authorised Covid-19 vaccine. I have accepted this advice and the HSE has made the necessary arrangements to operationalise these recommendations with the booster rollout now underway.

The NIAC will continue to examine emerging evidence regarding booster vaccines for others in the population where there is evidence of waning immunity and reduced effectiveness and will make further recommendations if required.