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06th Apr 2022

Health Minister announces new Covid booster vaccine recommendations

It includes which members of the population should receive a second booster vaccine dose soon.

Health Minister Stephen Donnelly has accepted new recommendations regarding Ireland’s Covid-19 vaccination programme.

In a statement on Wednesday, the Department of Health said that work has been ongoing between it and the HSE regarding the Covid mid-term vaccination strategy.

It added that recommendations made on Tuesday night by the National Immunisation Advisory Committee (NIAC) to the Chief Medical Officer Dr Tony Holohan, who has endorsed the advice, will “greatly assist in informing and guiding the operational planning required for the Covid-19 immunisation programme”.

NIAC has recommended:

  • A second mRNA booster (fourth dose) for all those aged 65 years and older
  • That those aged 12 years and older, who are immunocompromised, receive a second booster (fifth dose)
  • That those who are immunocompromised aged 5-11 years should complete an extended primary course (total of three vaccine doses)

In addition, NIAC reiterated its previous recommendation that pregnant women and adolescents from 12 years of age should be offered mRNA Covid primary and booster vaccination at any stage of pregnancy.

It also underscored the importance of children and adolescents aged 12 – 15 and older completing their primary course and receiving a booster dose, as well as those aged 5 to 11 completing a primary course of two doses.

“I welcome today’s update to Ireland’s vaccination programme,” Donnelly said.

“I have asked the NIAC to continue to actively examine the evidence regarding the likely benefit of a second booster to other groups, vaccine choice and interval in order to make further recommendations in this regard.”

Speaking later on Morning Ireland, Donnelly confirmed discussions with the HSE regarding the rollout of the plans have already commenced.

“We’re talking with the HSE. They’re already doing some pre-planning,” he explained.

“We’ll roll it out quickly.

“The most important part now is this recommendation on a second booster for those aged 65 and older and those aged 12 and older who are immunocompromised.

“The advice from NIAC is ideally there would be a six-month gap between this new booster and the last one but it could be four months where that is appropriate.

“We’ll be looking to put that in place now very quickly with the HSE.”

Main image via Sam Boal /