Republic's Covid-19 vaccine booster programme extended to all those aged 18-49 years

All adults in Ireland are now eligible to receive a second Covid-19 vaccine booster. (PA)
All adults in Ireland are now eligible to receive a second Covid-19 vaccine booster. (PA)

All adults in the Republic of Ireland are now eligible for a second Covid-19 vaccination booster.

The Health Service Executive (HSE) announced boosters are now available for all those aged from 18 to 49 years from Thursday.

The HSE is encouraging all adults to take up the booster jab amid a “steep rise” in Covid infections.

Eileen Whelan, national lead for the Covid-19 Vaccination Programme said the booster will give ongoing protection from serious illness.

“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 six months since their last vaccine or since they have had a Covi-19 infection,” she said.

“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.”

Dr Colm Henry, HSE chief clinical officer, added: “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.

“In the week ending on December 24, we had 2,329 flu cases reported, compared to 1,174 the previous week.

“People needing hospital admission for flu jumped to 637, from 299 the previous week. Covid-19 cases increased to 3,809, compared to 3,118 the previous week, with 737 people in hospital with Covid-19.”

Booster appointments can be booked online at HSE vaccination clinics on Booster vaccines may also be available at participating pharmacies and GPs.