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Jab update HPSC say Covid vaccines may not work as well on people with pre-existing conditions

'Vaccine protection may not work so well in people who have a condition or who are in treatment that interferes with their immune system'

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Stock image. Photo: Jacob King/Reuters

Stock image. Photo: Jacob King/Reuters

Stock image. Photo: Jacob King/Reuters

People with medical conditions whose immune system is weakened, such as cancer patients undergoing treatments, have been told Covid-19 vaccines may not work as well on them.

The warning is contained in updated advice from the Health Protection Surveillance Centre (HPSC) to people with health conditions.

It said: "When vaccinated, you can expect to have a very high degree of protection from severe Covid-19. However, vaccine protection is not perfect and especially it may not work so well in people who have a condition or who are in treatment that interferes with their immune system."

Recent HSE figures showed that from the end of March to early July, among 26 patients who were admitted to intensive care and partially vaccinated, 23 had an underlying condition.

The guidance emphasised the need to be fully vaccinated and then wait for the protection to build up over a week or two afterwards, depending on the vaccine.

To date, some 64.8pc of the population is now fully vaccinated and 78.9pc have had at least one dose.

Anyone over 18 is now invited to register for a vaccine. The HSE is expected to invite 16- and 17-year-olds to apply from early next week.

Meanwhile, a Moderna vaccine for children aged 12 to 17 has been approved by the European Medicines Agency (EMA). Already, a Pfizer vaccine for 12- to 15-year-olds was approved.

Ireland's immunisation experts at the National Immunisation Advisory Committee (Niac) have yet to recommend vaccines for teenagers under 16. The EMA said it is approving Spikevax, previously Covid-19 Moderna, to include use in children aged 12 to 17 years. The vaccine is already authorised for use in people aged 18 and above.

The use of the Spikevax vaccine in children from 12 to 17 years of age will be the same as in people aged 18 and above.

It is given as two injections in the muscles of the upper arm, four weeks apart.

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The most common side-effects in children aged 12 to 17 are similar to those in people aged 18 and above.

They include pain and swelling at the injection site, tiredness, headache, muscle and joint pain, enlarged lymph nodes, chills, nausea, vomiting and fever.

These effects are usually mild or moderate and improve within a few days.

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