HSE publishes information and expert advice on the COVID-19 vaccine for 5-11 year olds

 Parents and guardians of children aged 5 – 11 will find answers they can trust on HSE.ie

Today, the HSE is publishing new information and guidance on COVID-19 vaccines for children. This information aims to help parents and guardians of 5-11 year old children make an informed decision when it’s time for their child to be offered a COVID-19 vaccine. 

According to Dr Lucy Jessop, Director of the National Immunisation Office (NIO), “COVID-19 vaccines will soon be offered to children aged 5 to 11 years and we want parents to have time to read and discuss all the information we have about the vaccine. We know that parents have questions and concerns, and we also know that they want to get information from a trusted source like the HSE, their GP or other healthcare professionals.”

“Registration for the vaccine will open shortly, with priority being placed on children who are more at risk from COVID-19. The vaccine is particularly recommended for children who have a health condition that puts them at higher risk of severe illness from COVID-19, or if they live with a child or an adult who has complex medical needs or is immunocompromised.”

“For all other children in this age group, severe illness from COVID-19 is rare, but it can happen. The recommendation is that the benefits of vaccination are greater than the risks from the vaccine. The benefits include avoiding getting COVID-19, and extra protection from the rare risks of serious illness from COVID-19.”

The HSE’s COVID-19 vaccine communications programme has supported people in Ireland to be informed and feel confidence in the vaccine and the protection it offers us all. Each phase of our communications campaign has been rooted in ongoing research and insights with channels and messages tailored to the group being invited at each stage.

As part of this new stage of our COVID-19 vaccine programme, parents and guardians can read this information on https://www2.hse.ie/screening-and-vaccinations/covid-19-vaccine/get-the-vaccine/covid-19-vaccination-for-children/  or they can look out for our social media posts and news updates over the coming days.

What vaccine will be offered to all children aged 5 – 11?

The vaccine your child will be offered is called Comirnaty (Pfrizer/BioNTech). Children in this age group will be given a smaller dose of the vaccine than adults.

When will children be vaccinated?

Registration for vaccines for this age group will open shortly, and the HSE will publicise this widely in the media to ensure parents are informed.

Children with high-risk conditions, or who live with someone who is more at risk, will be offered the vaccine first. Parents and guardians will be able to register their child for their vaccine online.

How does the vaccine work?
This mRNA vaccine teaches your child’s body how to make a protein that will trigger an immune response, without using the live virus that caused COVID-19.

Your child’s body then makes antibodies that help fight the infection if the COVID-19 virus enters their body in the future. Before vaccination, you will be asked to give consent for your child to get the vaccine and this consent will be recorded.

Which children should be vaccinated first?

COVID-19 vaccines are strongly recommended by the National Immunisation Advisory Committee (NIAC) for children aged 5 to 11 years who:

  • have a health condition that puts them at high risk of severe illness if they get COVID-19
  • live with a younger child or adult who is at risk of severe illness if they get COVID-19 e.g. another child with complex medical needs, or an immunocompromised adult.

Why will the vaccine be offered to all children aged 5 to 11?

Our aim in offering the vaccine to this population is to protect people and reduce the illness and deaths caused by this virus. Getting a COVID-19 vaccine should protect your child and those around them from getting COVID-19.

Though serious illness from COVID-19 is rare in this age group, they are even less likely to become seriously ill with COVID-19 if they are vaccinated.


Last updated on: 14 / 12 / 2021