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big effort Taoiseach says Covid booster could 'emerge like flu vaccine' as he urges winter 'caution'

A campaign is currently under way to roll out booster jabs for people aged over 60

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Covid-19 vaccine boosters will become like the annual flu jab, the Taoiseach has said as he warned there is a need for “caution” over the winter months.

A campaign is currently under way to roll out booster jabs for people aged over 60 and the National Immunisation Advisory Committee (Niac) is currently considering boosters for frontline workers.

Speaking to reporters in Brussels, the Taoiseach said there are no guarantees in a pandemic.

“Covid doesn’t facilitate anybody guaranteeing anything. There can be mutations, anything can happen in relation to a global pandemic,” he said.

“Over time, something like the flu vaccine will emerge in relation to Covid-19.

“It seems to me that the direction of travel is to people receiving a booster to give added protection.”

He declined to give a timeline for when boosters may be rolled out to the wider population.

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Taoiseach Micheál Martin

Taoiseach Micheál Martin

Taoiseach Micheál Martin

“In the fullness of time, it may very well be that people will [get the booster] just like we get the flu vaccine,” he said.

He added there will be a “seasonality dimension” to the spread of the virus and that people should be “cautious”.

“The phase we’re in now does speak to a collective effort from everybody to be cautious,” he said.

“At the same time, we’ve got to work to live with Covid, as challenging as that may be, and we’ve got to do everything we can to try and resource the health service.”

Mr Martin said that last night, EU leaders discussed a more flexible operation of provision of vaccines to Africa, including the increasing of manufacturing capacity in Africa.

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He said this would be a “game changer”.

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