Third dose of Covid vaccine for vulnerable to begin next week

Vulnerable people set to receive third dose of vaccine from next week

Niac has recommended additional vaccines be given to those with serious immune system issues over 12, to the over-80s, and anyone over 65 in a long-term care facility. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill/The Irish Times

Niac has recommended additional vaccines be given to those with serious immune system issues over 12, to the over-80s, and anyone over 65 in a long-term care facility. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill/The Irish Times

 

Vulnerable people will begin to receive their third dose of the Covid-19 vaccine from next week, the Health Service Executive (HSE) has said.

Appointments will be made from Wednesday, and the first doses will be given on Friday, HSE director general Paul Reid has said.

“Our intention is to commence the process later next week, probably by Wednesday, of starting to make appointments, and probably about Friday of next week people will start to get appointments,” he told RTÉ Radio’s Morning Ireland.

The National Immunisation Advisory Committee (Niac) has recommended additional vaccines be given to those with serious immune system issues aged over 12, to the over-80s and to anyone over 65 in a long-term care facility.

The group is still examining whether there is a need for a booster shot for other groups, such as healthcare workers and other older people outside the categories currently approved.

The process of identifying those for whom the third dose would be necessary was complex, Mr Reid said. There was not a “simple list to take off the shelf”.

Mr Reid said the campaign would take five to six weeks. The HSE will contact those they consider “high risk” to make appointments, and clinical teams will identify those in this category, he said.

The vaccines will be administered through vaccination centres, hospitals, care settings and GPs.

More than 90 per cent of all adults in Ireland are now fully vaccinated, while 92.5 per cent have received at least one dose.

‘Vaccination week’

Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly has said Ireland has “one of the highest vaccination rates anywhere in the world”, as more than seven million doses have been administered so far.

“Vaccination week” will take place at colleges and universities from Monday, Mr Donnelly said, providing “another great opportunity for our students to either get vaccinated or finish up with their vaccines”.

There will be 11 pop-up vaccination centres established across colleges next week: UCC, NUI Galway, Trinity College Dublin, University of Limerick, DCU, Maynooth University, Munster Technological University Cork, Mary Immaculate College, Royal College of Surgeons Ireland, National College of Art and Design and the Athlone Institute of Technology.

In addition, clinics operating in UCD, Letterkenny, Sligo and Waterford Institutes of Technology will be open to students and staff during vaccination week.

Speaking about the third-dose campaign, he said the HSE and clinicians are “working really well in the background” to identify and contact those who are eligible for a third dose.

“I really just want to thank all of the men and women right over the country who’ve helped make this happen, and to everyone in the country for coming forward to get vaccinated,” Mr Donnelly said.