Additional vaccine dose to be offered to people with weakened immune system

HSE Press Release: 30th September 2021

An additional dose of COVID-19 vaccine is important to ensure a better immune response and protection from Covid-19

From this week, an additional dose of COVID-19 vaccine will be offered to people aged 12 and over, whose immune system is weakened.  This includes those with certain underlying health conditions or who are undergoing specific treatments meaning they are immunocompromised or immunosuppressed and have a reduced response to the COVID-19 vaccine.

According to Dr Colm Henry, Chief Clinical Officer, HSE: “It has been shown that people with weakened immune systems do not generate a full immune response to their first two doses of the COVID-19 vaccine.”

“This additional dose we are offering will mean they will get the maximum benefit from their primary vaccination course, giving them better protection against the serious effects of COVID-19.”

Who will be getting an additional dose?

Following NIAC recommendations, people aged 12 years and older who are immunocompromised at the time of vaccination due to disease or treatment should receive one additional dose of a Covid-19 vaccine. 

How you will get the vaccine?

Hospitals will identify the people who need an additional dose. You don’t need to register or contact anyone. People who need an additional dose will receive a text message with an appointment for their vaccine. These additional doses will be given through a HSE vaccination centre near you, or your hospital if you are an inpatient. GPs may also vaccinate some people.

From this week, appointments will start for those aged 16 years and over. As the vaccination programme for the 12 years to 15 years started later, those aged 12 years to 15 years who have been identified for an additional dose, will be offered an appointment at a later date. This is to facilitate the two month minimum interval from their last dose of COVID-19 vaccine.

Information on the specific conditions and medications that include people in this group is available here.

Which vaccine will you get?

Regardless of which COVID-19 vaccine course you had previously, you will be offered a single dose of either Pfizer/BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine or Moderna Covid-19 vaccine.

Having a weakened immune system puts you at a higher risk of serious illness if you get COVID-19. It is important that you are vaccinated against COVID-19 if you have a weakened immune system (immunosuppressed or immunocompromised).

Continue to follow public health guidelines to protect yourself from Covid-19 after you have been vaccinated and for information on guidelines, please see here. Everyone you live with aged 12 years and older should get vaccinated against Covid-19. This will help to protect both you and them from Covid-19.

Read more about weakened immune systems and COVID-19 here.


Last updated on: 30 / 09 / 2021