Ireland to begin booster rollout

Covid vaccine booster shots will be rolled out for vulnerable people and frontline workers as soon as next month.

Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly confirmed the move ahead of visiting the Cavan HSE COVID-19 Vaccination Centre at the Hotel Kilmore on Tuesday afternoon, August 17.

The decision to roll out booster shots runs contrary to World Health Organisation (WHO) advice but follows that of the National Immunisation Advisory Committee. The advice was passed onto the Minister by Chief Medical Officer, Dr Tony Holohan, and follows the paths already taken by France and Germany.

The vaccine boosters will be distributed, starting with the vulnerable categories and frontline workers from late September into early October. It is hoped the booster shots will provide extra immunity for those most at risk of the virus in the run up to the traditional winter flu season. The programme could be run alongside the HSE’s existing flu jab programme.

The timeline for a further rollout of the booster programme has yet to be finalised.

Ireland boasts the second highest number of fully vaccinated among adults in the EU of 80.7%, following Malta.

It comes as the latest health update reported a further 1,558 COVID-19 cases in Ireland on Monday, with a rise also in the number of hospitalisations (262, 51 of which were in ICU).