Covid booster programme to begin next month as Niac authorises vaccine mixing

ireland
Covid Booster Programme To Begin Next Month As Niac Authorises Vaccine Mixing
The National Immunisation Advisory Committee (Niac) has advised that the rollout of the booster shots should begin in late September/early October. Photo: PA Wire/PA Images
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The rollout of booster vaccines may begin next month following advice from the National Immunisation Advisory Committee (Niac), which has also given the green light for the mixing of different vaccines.

Speaking to RTÉ News at One from Ardee, Co Louth on Tuesday, Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly confirmed those who received a first dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine but wished to have an mRNA vaccine for their second dose could now do so.

Mr Donnelly added the booster shots will be administered around the same time as the annual flu shot, which is given from late September/early October.

The booster shots will not have to be the same type of vaccine as was received for the person's initial inoculation, with the final timelines still being worked on according to the Irish Examiner.

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“Niac are currently looking at the details of any potential booster campaign and I expect to receive advice on that next week which will allow us to proceed with more detailed planning and give people a sense of when they can expect a booster and which groups," Mr Donnelly said.

It is not yet clear whether the booster shot will be given to all cohorts or if it will only be administered to older and vulnerable people.

A decision to stop ordering doses of the Janssen (Johnson & Johnson) and AstraZeneca vaccines will see the State's rollout rely more heavily on mRNA vaccines, Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna.

Supply of the two vaccines are now said to be extremely high, with deals confirmed through the EU for millions of additional doses to be delivered over the next 18 months.

Previously, the World Health Organisation (WHO) urged developed countries to delay the rollout of booster vaccines to free up more supply for other countries with very low vaccination levels.

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