The Covid-19 vaccine will be administered to wards of court in line with the same procedure by which wards get the annual flu vaccine, the Department of Health has told the High Court.
The department was replying by letter to queries raised by the High Court president, Ms Justice Mary Irvine, concerning the administration of the vaccine to wards.
There are more than 2,000 wards, most of whom are elderly and vulnerable people. A substantial number of wards are in nursing homes or other residential care facilities.
Ms Justice Irvine is in charge of the wardship list.
When dealing with a number of cases on December 11th, the judge told lawyers she had written the previous day to the chief medical officer, Dr Tony Holohan, concerning the Covid-19 vaccine.
The judge said she was concerned that wards would get the vaccine, on the direction of their clinicians, without undue delay and she hoped it would not be necessary to have formal applications brought in every case for an order permitting the vaccine to be administered.
In a reply in recent days, a senior medical officer with the Department of Health said the intention, in line with the approach proposed by the judge, is that similar arrangements to those in place for administration of the annual flu vaccine will be adopted for the proposed Covid-19 vaccine.
Those arrangements involve consultation with each ward’s treating physician for the purpose of deciding on the appropriateness of immunisation for each individual, the letter stated.