Major boost | 

GPs and pharmacies allowed to give Covid booster jabs to over 16s

The order of priority for boosters are pregnant women aged 16 and over, then those aged 40-49, followed by 16- to 39-year-olds.

Vaccinator Rosie Buchanan (left) giving paediatric nurse Jordan Reid (25) her the booster jab at the COVID-19 vaccination centre at Dundonald Hospital in Belfast, Northern Ireland (Liam McBurney/PA)

Eilish O'Regan

GPs and pharmacists will be allowed to give Covid booster shots to people over 16 but must prioritise older age groups first.

The order of priority for boosters are pregnant women aged 16 and over, then those aged 40-49, followed by 16- to 39-year-olds.

The priority is in descending order based on age and in ten year cohorts.

It means that GPs and pharmacists will have to work their way down these groups before boosting the youngest.

In a letter to GPs, the Irish Medical Organisation (IMO) said that the overriding clinical imperative is to have as many of the population vaccinated as possible within the next few weeks.

GPs, mass vaccination clinics and pharmacies will be delivering an accelerated programme.

Doctors will be accelerating the administration of boosters for the next four weeks.

Currently 75pc of GP practices are involved in the vaccination programme and are delivering 75,000 vaccines on a weekly basis.

The objective is to bring that activity level back up towards the peak of vaccinations in general practice which was in the region of 150,000 a week.

They will be getting deliveries of the Pfizer vaccine.

The interval between a second dose and the booster dose can be three months except in the following circumstances:

• 6-month interval applies to patients who were diagnosed with a Covid-19 infection and who were fully vaccinated;

• 1-month interval applies to patients who were diagnosed with Covid-19 /onset of symptoms and who were only partially vaccinated;

• 3-month interval applies to immunocompromised patients who have already received their third vaccine.

GPs are being asked to work through their own patient lists, prioritising the oldest, and working in descending order of age. Pregnant women are also being prioritised

The IMO said the public messaging will support general practice where they will have to delay non-urgent care.

GPs are best placed to decide how they will deliver the programme bearing in mind the overall objective to reach peak vaccination levels, so it is a matter for each practice to decide when they will run the clinics during each of the four weeks.

GPs are being paid a €25 vaccine fee and a €10 administration fee by the HSE.

Meanwhile, GPs have told the HSE the need to keep newly-vaccinated patients for 15 minutes after receiving the booster is a limiting factor in terms of speed, and the issue is being looked at.


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