Ireland Expands COVID Booster Campaign to All Aged Over 18

HSE National Lead: Covid-19 Test, Trace & Vaccination Programme Eileen Whelan during a med
Brian Lawless/PA Images via Getty Images

Ireland’s COVID-19 booster campaign has been expanded to encompass all those aged 18 and older, reports on Thursday have indicated.

All those aged between 18-49 within the Irish state are now able to book an appointment to receive a second COVID booster vaccine according to reports within local media.

It comes as many nations across Europe increase restrictions on those arriving from Communist China, which has seen a spike in COVID infections since relaxing its zero COVID policy over the last number of weeks.

According to a report by the Irish Times, the rollout of second boosters for those aged 18-49 is being implemented in response to advice from Ireland’s National Immunisation Advisory Committee, with the head of the vaccination programme within Ireland’s HSE socialised healthcare service recommending that everyone eligible gets the jab.

“I encourage everyone to get their second booster dose,” vaccination chief Eileen Whelan reportedly said. “It will give ongoing protection from serious illness and increase your immunity against infection from Covid-19, which we know tends to reduce after a period of months following your last vaccine.”

The Irish Times also reports that children aged six months to four years have been made eligible for their first COVID-19 vaccination, while those aged 5-11 years can now get their first booster.

According to the Irish publication, the increased push for both COVID and flu vaccinations within the country comes at a time when its health service is dealing with a serious wave of respiratory illnesses, with the Irish Medical Organisation warning that GPs in the country were also seeing a surge in demand this winter.

However, the newspaper also noted one official source as saying that the country was taking a “permissive” approach towards further COVID jabs, and that the public will be left free to choose whether or not they take further vaccinations against the disease.

Other European nations are also beginning to have COVID-related fears once again. However, these do not appear to be related to any internal spikes in the disease, but a sudden surge in infections in China after the communist nation’s zero COVID strategy collapsed.

As a consequence, some nations are now looking at imposing restrictions on arrivals coming from the foreign nation, with Italy having already reintroduced COVID testing for those coming from the country.

Meanwhile, James Bethell, a former UK health minister, is now pushing for the UK to introduce post-arrival screening for arrivals coming from China in the hopes of limiting the spread of the disease.

“What the Italians are doing is post-flight surveillance on arrivals in Italy in order to understand whether there are any emerging variants and to understand the impact of the virus on the Italian health system,” Bethell reportedly said.

“That’s a sensible thing to do and something the UK Government should be seriously looking at,” he went on to recommend.

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