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Vaccination Programme

Dáil Éireann Debate, Tuesday - 17 May 2022

Tuesday, 17 May 2022

Questions (674)

Alan Farrell

Question:

674. Deputy Alan Farrell asked the Minister for Health his views on the considerations that his Department is giving to further vaccinations for Covid-19; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [24340/22]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Health)

Ireland's COVID-19 vaccination programme is based on the principles of safety, effectiveness and fairness, with the objective of reducing severe illness, hospitalisations and deaths from COVID-19 infection.

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 the Department of Health based on the prevalence of the relevant disease in Ireland and international best practices in relation to immunisation.

Following the recommendation for use of vaccines against COVID-19 by the European Medicines Agency (EMA) and authorisation for use by the European Commission, the NIAC develops guidance for their use in Ireland which is contained in the Immunisation Guidelines for Ireland. These guidelines are continuously updated and include guidance on all new vaccines as they are approved for use in Ireland.

You can view the updated guidelines here: www.hse.ie/eng/health/immunisation/hcpinfo/guidelines/covid19.pdf

The NIAC has recommended that to maintain high levels of immunity in those most at risk of severe disease, a second booster dose of an mRNA vaccine is to be offered to those aged 65 years and older & those aged 12 years and older with immunocompromise associated with a sub optimal response to vaccines. The second booster vaccine is recommended at least six months after the first booster. A minimum interval of four months may be used for operational reasons.

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.

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