CHILDREN OVER the age of 12 will be offered a Covid-19 vaccination as part of Ireland's continued fight against Coronavirus, the Government have confirmed.
The vaccination programme has already allowed for older teenagers to apply for a vaccine-- those aged 16 and 17 can register for a jab as of yesterday-- and soon children over the age of 12 will also be encouraged to take part in the programme.
Minister for Health, Stephen Donnelly, confirmed the news yesterday, saying the decision was based on advice received by the Chief Medical Officer (CMO) from the National Immunisation Advisory Committee (NIAC).
Young people aged 12 - 15 will be offered an mRNA vaccine-- aka Pfizer/BioNTech or Moderna vaccine-- to protect themselves from Covid-19.
During clinical trials the estimate for efficacy of both vaccines was reported as 100% in these age groups.
In a statement, Minister Donnelly said he is "delighted to be in a position to confirm that our young people will be offered an opportunity to protect themselves from COVID-19."
"Yesterday, I announced that the vaccine registration portal was opening to all those aged 16 and 17 years old and today’s announcement is an important step in offering that same protection to our younger population.
Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly
"We are continuing to see an increase in cases of COVID-19 among our young people and vaccination, along with continued adherence to the public health advice, remains the best protection we can offer in terms of reducing the risk of severe disease, maintaining access to educational opportunities and the range of social activities that we are all so conscious this age group in particular have lost due to this pandemic. "
The Minister added that "Support for parents and young people will be made available to help them make the best decision for them".
He praised the success of Ireland's vaccination programme, which has so far seen over 5.5 million doses delivered and which has allowed for the cautious reopening of society, including indoor dining for the fully vaccinated.
Children aged between 12- 15 will require parental consent to receive the vaccine (Stock image / Getty)
The NIAC has recommended that every child aged between 12 and 15 be offered an mRNA vaccine, and that any child of that age living with underlying medical conditions, or with a younger family member with complex medical needs, or an adult with a compromised immune system, should take the vaccine as soon as it is offered to them.
RTÉ News reports that vaccinations for children may be available as early as next week in order to have schoolchildren fully vaccinated before the return to the classroom in September.
The online vaccine registration portal will undergo changes in order for parental consent to be given before a child is registered for a mRNA vaccine.