THOSE AGED 18 to 49 can now receive their second Covid-19 booster vaccine in Ireland, the HSE has said.
Appointments can be made on the HSE website, with slots being available from today.
There were 3,809 Covid-19 cases in Ireland during the week ending 24 December, compared to 3,118 the previous week, with 737 people in hospital with COVID-19.
Colm Henry, the HSE Chief Clinical Officer, said in a HSE press statement:
"We continue to be very concerned about the steep rise in cases of COVID-19, influenza and other respiratory illness at this time.
"Our GPs and hospitals are working hard to support people, but we have seen a more than 100% increase in cases of flu, and people needing hospital admission for flu.”
Eileen Whelan, National Lead, COVID-19 Vaccination Programme, HSE said:
“We are putting the most recent vaccine advice from NIAC (National Immunisation Advisory Committee) into action and inviting everyone aged 18-49 for their second booster, once it is 6 months since their last vaccine or since they have had a COVID-19 infection.
"I encourage everyone to get their second booster dose. It will give ongoing protection from serious illness, and increase your immunity against infection from COVID-19, which we know tends to reduce after a period of months following your last vaccine."
Last week there were 2,329 flu cases reported, compared to 1,174 the previous week.
Some 637 needed to go to hospital with the flu, up from from 299 the previous week.
Henry said this reflected “widespread transmission over a short period of time.”
Dr Henry emphasised that, “getting a vaccine, whether it’s your next COVID-19 booster, or a flu vaccine if you or your children are due to get it, can really help to protect you, the people around you, and our health services. Since flu season can last for 12 weeks or more - it’s not too late to do that now.”
He said it was not too late for people to get the flu vaccine.
“We expect the surge in cases to last at least another few weeks.
Both the Covid-19 and flu vaccine take 14 days to be effective. The new, adapted vaccines will be provided as a booster vaccine for this age group.
Booster vaccines may also be available at participating pharmacies and GPs.