In a bid to increase uptake rates of the Covid-19 booster, the Health Service Executive (HSE) announced that everyone aged 18 years and over who has not received their next dose of the vaccine can go to walk-in clinics around the country.
Who is eligible for a vaccine?
Pretty much all adults. The National Immunisation Advisory Committee (Niac) issued advice at the end of December which extended eligibility for a second booster dose to those aged 18 to 49 years of age. Older age groups were already eligible for the jab before this.
Eileen Whelan, national lead of the Covid-19 vaccination programme, said: “It is over a year since this age group received a first booster and it is timely now that they present to avail of a second booster once it is six months since their last booster or since they have had Covid-19 infection. I encourage everyone to get their second booster dose.”
What is the uptake rate like currently?
According to Ms Whelan, only 33 per cent of the overall population have received their second booster, but this varies significantly among the various age groups.
“So the highest risk in relation to adverse outcomes from Covid-19 is in the older age groups and it is good that the over 65s have a good uptake and 78 per cent is really good for that age group,” she told RTÉ Radio 1’s Today with Claire Byrne.
However among those aged 18-29, only 3 per cent have received a second booster, Ms Whelan said. This amounts to just 16,000 people while there’s more than 300,000 people in that age group that have not come forward, she explained.
Why is uptake low in that age group?
Ms Whelan said a lot of this age group previously said the reason for them getting the vaccine was to allow them to become mobile again and there was a lot of “self-interest” in the early stages.
“And as we all know, the country was in lockdown, you know, travel, etc. was limited. But we have now encouraged people to do it because it’s the right thing to do. And it’s important that as a part of the overall population that we increase the uptake,” Ms Whelan said.
Okay then, where do I get the booster?
There are 34 walk-in clinics nationwide offering booster jabs, with at least one in every county, the HSE said. A full list of locations is available on the HSE website.
Some of the locations include:
- Citywest Vaccination Centre
- Clonskeagh Vaccination Centre
- Croke Park Vaccination Centre
- Swords Vaccination Centre
- Ashbourne Old Health Centre Pop-up Vaccination Clinic
- Navan Vaccination Centre – Simonstown GAA Club
- Punchestown Racecourse, Naas
- Bantry Vaccination Centre
- North Main Street Vaccination Centre
- Skibbereen CVC
- Galway Racecourse Vaccination Centre
- Scoil Carmel, O’Connell Avenue, Limerick City
Do I have to make an appointment?
No appointment is needed and members of the public can attend any of these walk-in clinics. Check the opening times of the clinics on the HSE website before attending.
What vaccine will I be getting?
Everyone will be offered a bivalent vaccine. This vaccine differs from the original jab that was offered, as they have been adapted to improve efficacy against later variants.
The bivalent vaccine on offer includes a component of the original virus strain to provide broad protection against Covid-19 and a component of the omicron variant to provide better protection against Covid-19 caused by the omicron variant