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HSE recommends Government continue to vaccinate based on age alone with 50+ group next

The recommendation is based on concerns over supplies of vaccines arriving on schedule and the greater health risk people aged over 50 face from Covid-19.

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A dose of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine is prepared. REUTERS/Andrew Couldridge/File Photo

A dose of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine is prepared. REUTERS/Andrew Couldridge/File Photo

A dose of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine is prepared. REUTERS/Andrew Couldridge/File Photo

The HSE is recommending that the Government continue to vaccinate people based on their age.

A review of the National Vaccination Programme was ordered by Health Minister Stephen Donnelly due to varying immunisation recommendations for each of the four Covid-19 vaccines used by the State.

Consideration was given to vaccinating people in younger age categories in tandem with people in their late 50s due to restrictions on the use of the AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson vaccines.

However, the HSE is understood to have urged the Government to continue vaccinating people based on their age alone.

The recommendation is based on concerns over supplies of vaccines arriving on schedule and the greater health risk people aged over 50 face from Covid-19.

Tomorrow the online registration system opens for people aged over 50 beginning with those aged 59.

People aged over 50 can avail of all four vaccines currently being used by the HSE to vaccinate the country.

However, people aged under 50 can only avail of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines following advice from the National Immunisation Advisory Committee (Niac).

The Government was considering vaccinating people in lower age groups with these vaccines while giving people aged over 50 the AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson doses.

The HSE is concerned that any issues with supply of vaccines could result in people in their 30s potentially being vaccinated ahead of people in their early 50s.

Instead, they are recommending people are vaccinated based on their age and given whatever vaccines are available at the time.

Speaking on RTE on Sunday, HSE chief executive Paul Reid said it would not be good if people over 50 had not been vaccinated while people in younger age groups were receiving doses due to “risk factor” associated with age.

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Minister Donnelly is still considering the advice before making a recommendation to government.


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