HSE urges more people to get their COVID-19 vaccine or booster

Today (Thursday, 16th June), the HSE is urging those who are eligible for a COVID-19 vaccine or a booster and who have not yet received it to get their vaccine. This is particularly important given the recent increase in the numbers of confirmed cases of COVID-19.

Dr Colm Henry, HSE Chief Clinical Officer, said: “While there was a reduction in the incidence of COVID-19 infection in recent months, we have seen a sharp increase in cases and hospitalisations in recent weeks.  This rise may be attributable in part to emerging variants of Omicron, which can evade immunity from either natural infection with a previous variant or vaccination. Vaccination still affords protection from serious illness and many of those hospitalised did not receive their booster vaccine or did not receive a primary vaccination course.”

“The scale of vaccine uptake in Ireland, particularly last year, played a huge part in reducing the harm caused by COVID-19. COVID-19 vaccination is critical to ensure people are protected from serious illness, particularly those who are most vulnerable. I would again urge everyone who is eligible to get their vaccine.

“It is especially important that those who are 65 years or older, and those who are 12 years or older with a weak immune system who have yet to get their second booster vaccine, access the booster offered as soon as they can to ensure they are protected – particularly if we continue to see an increase in cases of COVID-19.”

Damien McCallion, HSE National Lead for Test and Trace and Vaccination, said: “The HSE will shortly move to the next stage of its COVID-19 vaccination programme. Since the programme began in December 2020 more than four million people have had their primary COVID-19 vaccine and over 3.22 million people have had at least one booster dose.

“Ireland’s vaccination programme has been widely acknowledged as one of the most successful programmes in the world – with the uptake of dose one at over 97.6% of the eligible population. The HSE delivered its population-wide vaccination programme through a combination of GP, Pharmacy and Vaccination Centres. The programme was supported by HSE Vaccination Teams who prioritised those in Long Term Residential Facilities and those who were housebound.

“The most recent part of our vaccination programme, which provides a second booster vaccine to those aged over-65 and those who are immunocompromised over the age of 12, continues to be delivered in this way and that will continue until the end of June.

“We know that there will continue to be people who want to get their primary vaccine dose or their first or second booster. This includes those who may have had COVID-19 in the previous four months, those who have recently become eligible by age, or those who have recently arrived in Ireland.  While some vaccination centres around the country have closed or will shortly close, we are retaining 15 vaccination centres nationally to ensure that there is access to vaccination over the summer for anyone who requires it. The continuing involvement of many pharmacies in the COVID-19 vaccination programme will ensure that people can still easily access it and the public can check HSE.ie to find a participating pharmacy nearest to them. 

“For the remainder of June, we encourage anyone who has yet to get their COVID-19 vaccine to book an appointment online at HSE.ie or ring HSELive to book an appointment in a HSE vaccination centre. Participating GPs and Pharmacists will also continue to provide vaccination.

“As we move into the next phase of our vaccination programme, I want to acknowledge the huge effort that has gone into this programme. I want to particularly acknowledge the critical role played by the teams in our vaccination centres, our mobile teams, GPs and Pharmacists – it was their support and participation in this programme that enabled us to protect our communities.

"I want to strongly encourage anyone who is eligible for a COVID-19 vaccine to avail of it as soon as they can. Getting vaccinated is the best way we can protect ourselves from COVID-19, particularly those who are aged over 65 or those who have a weak immune system. While we will shortly be moving into the next stage of our vaccination programme, many options remain for people to get their vaccine and I would urge anyone who has yet to get their vaccine or their booster to book an appointment as soon as they can.

“We are currently working on our plans for the autumn / winter period. We know that the flu vaccine will again be an important part of the plan to protect those who are most vulnerable and we will be ready to respond to any further NIAC guidance in relation to further COVID 19 vaccines in the autumn. It is likely that NIAC will recommend a gap between vaccines so it’s important that those who are eligible get their second COVID 19 booster as soon as possible.”

Details on how to book a COVID-19 vaccine can be found here and information on the vaccine is available at www.hse.ie

 

Last updated on: 16 / 06 / 2022