The Department of Public Health Mid-West is urging adults aged 18 and older to avail of their free COVID-19 booster vaccine. The booster vaccines are adapted to give better protection against COVID-19, including the Omicron variant.
We are experiencing a significant increase in COVID-19 infections in the community, which may have a negative impact on healthcare settings, long-term care facilities, and other settings with vulnerable and at-risk people.
The HSE is now inviting adults aged 18-49 years to make an appointment for their second COVID-19 booster dose, with appointments available from today. Adults in that age group can avail of their booster dose if it has been six months since their last COVID-19 vaccine, or since they last had COVID-19 infection.
The following groups were already eligible for their second COVID-19 booster dose; those aged 50-64, and those aged 12 and over with a condition that puts them at higher risk of serious illness from COVID-19 (e.g. diabetes, asthma or heart disease). If you are currently pregnant and have not had a booster dose during this pregnancy, you can get your second booster at 16 weeks of pregnancy or later. These groups can book a booster vaccine appointment at least 4 months after getting their last COVID-19 vaccine or having COVID-19 infection.
In addition, a third COVID-19 booster is already available for those aged 65+ and people aged 12+ who have a weak immune system.
It may take up to 14 days for a COVID-19 vaccine booster dose to work so signing up as soon as possible will give your immune system time to be ready to protect you against infection.
If you are unsure about your vaccination status you can call HSELive on 1800 700 700, you can also make a vaccination appointment on this number.
You can book a booster appointment online at HSE vaccination clinics on www.hse.ie. Booster vaccines may also be available at participating pharmacies and GPs.
According to the latest available data (week ending December 17), there were 272 new COVID-19 cases in the Mid-West, an increase from 172 cases the previous week. We expect this to have increased significantly due to intensified socialising over the Christmas period.
Dr Marie Casey, Consultant in Public Health Medicine at Public Health Mid-West, said: “While increases in respiratory infections are expected during a busy winter period, we are particularly concerned about this surge in COVID-19 past fortnight. This is placing increased pressure on health services. We ask those in the 18-49 age group to make an appointment to get vaccinated as soon as possible.
“We also ask those in the other adult age groups to check whether they have had the boosters they are entitled to. There is room for improvement in the uptake of the boosters across the Mid-West region. If you are eligible and are not up to date with the booster vaccination, please make an appointment to get vaccinated”.