Vaccines Ireland: Covid-19 jab for five to 11-year-olds approved by NIAC

Covid-19 vaccines for children aged five to eleven years have been given the green light.

riority will be given to children with underlying conditions, with the rollout to other children later.

Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly said he has accepted new recommendations from the National Immunisation Advisory Committee (Niac).

NIAC have strongly recommended that priority be given to the following children aged 5-11 years.

These include children with an underlying condition, living with a younger child with complex medical needs or living with an immunocompromised adult.

These three categories will be prioritised for vaccination at the same time as others with underlying conditions.

NIAC also recommended that vaccination should be offered to all children aged 5-11 years.

Taoiseach Michael Martin said yesterday he expects to wider roll out to this group of around 480,000 children to get underway in early 2022.

The Department of Health said that “for most children Covid is a mild illness which will resolve”.

“However, a small minority of children will have more serious disease. In order to protect children from severe disease, as well as the potential long-term consequences of infection (e.g., long Covid) and in recognition of the negative psychosocial and developmental impacts of the virus on children.”

Pfizer vaccine is already approved for use in adults and children aged 12 years and above.

The vaccine for five to eleven year olds has a lower than normal dose of 10 µg -as compared with 30 µg in those aged over 12 years.

It is given as a two-dose schedule, three weeks apart.

Minister Donnelly said: “Today’s news is another positive step forward in our country’s response to the Covid-19 pandemic.

“As the country continues to experience a high incidence of disease, we have seen a significant increase in confirmed cases of Covid-19 in this age group. While we know that most children will experience a very mild form of this disease if they pick it up, for a small few, they may become severely ill.

“Extending the possibility of vaccination to this age group offers another layer of protection to our children, and to those around them.

“We are already beginning to see a significant reduction in incidence of Covid-19 infection in the over 75 age group, where people have been taking up the offer of a third dose of a Covid-19 vaccine in high numbers.

“This is really good news and shows the benefits of receiving a third/booster dose.

“Do not wait until after Christmas to receive your booster vaccine or come forward for your first dose, the benefits of receiving your booster dose far outweigh any potential risks that may arise in the meantime.

“It is vital that all of us prioritise our booster appointments as soon as we receive them or make the time to attend a walk-in vaccination clinic if that option is available.”

The Department of Health and the HSE will now work to operationalise these updates.

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