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Huge boost Healthcare workers to receive booster jabs amid rising numbers out due to Covid

The National Immunisation Advisory Committee approved the doses after a meeting today

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Photo: Arthur Carron

Photo: Arthur Carron

Photo: Arthur Carron

The National Immunisation Advisory Committee (Niac) has given the green light to booster vaccines for healthcare workers.

The expert group met today to discuss expanding the National Vaccination Programme’s booster dose campaign to healthcare workers.

A letter outlining Niac’s recommendation was sent to Health Minister Stephen Donnelly who will now sign off on booster shots for workers in hospitals, nursing homes and other care settings.

In a tweet, Mr Donnelly said: “I have just authorised the use of booster vaccines for healthcare workers.”

“This evening I received advice from Niac. Some time back I asked the HSE to prepare for such a programme and have now asked the HSE to roll this out,” he added.

Healthcare workers were among the first to be vaccinated at the beginning of this year and there are rising rates of Covid-19 among those working in the sector.

The booster campaign focused on people over 65 in nursing homes and those over 80 when it began, although everyone over-60 will soon also be able to register. However, staff working in hospitals and nursing homes were not offered booster shots.

The HSE has been rolling out vaccine doses in recent weeks.

Yesterday, it emerged there were 3,500 healthcare workers off work due to Covid-19, which is putting huge pressure on the health service, and health unions have been calling for their members to be added to the booster campaign.

On Sunday, HSE Chief Clinical Officer Collin Henry has said he is “anxious” to begin vaccinating healthcare workers as soon as they get clearance from Niac.

“We’re ready to administer quickly to frontline healthcare workers to protect them and to protect patients and services going into what will be a difficult winter,” Mr Henry told RTÉ.

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