Covid: Ireland may enter ‘less frequent vaccination situation,’ says Holohan

Covid: Ireland May Enter ‘Less Frequent Vaccination Situation,’ Says Holohan
The country’s chief medical officer suggested annual Covid booster vaccines may be offered to vulnerable members of society only. Photo: PA Images
Share this article

Ireland may enter a “less frequent vaccination situation” in the future amid the spread of Covid-19, Dr Tony Holohan has told an Oireachtas Committee.

The country’s chief medical officer suggested annual booster vaccines may be offered to vulnerable members of society only.


Dr Holohan told the Oireachtas Committee on Health that he wrote to the National Immunisation Advisory Committee (Niac) to ask them to consider the future of the vaccination programme.

Niac may advise that population-wide vaccination will be unnecessary in the future, he said.

"Certainly one of the possibilities, and I’m not anticipating the advice they will give yet, is that we could end up in a less-frequent vaccination situation whereby the topping up, as it were, of one’s vaccination is for the purpose of preventing severe infection.


"It may well be that that recommendation is not focused on the whole population but people with particular vulnerabilities."

It is estimated that around 80 per cent of those currently eligible for a booster vaccine have availed of one.

‘Safe to return’ to all activities

The chief medical officer on Wednesday morning delivered a positive outlook on the Covid-19 situation in Ireland around 10 days after almost all restrictions were lifted.

However, he warned that the Omicron variant is “very unlikely” to be the last variant of concern globally and “the global public health risk remains very high”.


Ahead of the committee meeting, The Irish Times reported that Dr Holohan would tell those in attendance that while the pandemic “is not over, it is safe to return to the activities we all enjoy”.

In a draft opening statement to the committee, Dr Holohan credited the population’s engagement with the vaccination programme for the “much improved situation”.

He highlighted a reduced demand for testing, lower rates of test positivity and a reduction in the number of cases ending up in hospitals and intensive care units (ICUs).

Further 10,618 new cases as hospital numbers conti...
Read More

He said incidence of the disease remains high, but has reduced from its peak and that Covid-19 related mortality remains relatively stable. He said that it remains “critical” for people to self-isolate if they have symptoms.


Dr Holohan noted the removal of restrictions will cause anxiety for some people who are immunocompromised or more vulnerable to the severe effects of Covid-19.

“I wish to assure those who may be anxious that the risks associated with Covid-19 are greatly reduced through vaccination and that, with appropriate caution, they should go about their daily lives,” his statement said.

More broadly he added: “It is important that people are assured that, while the pandemic is not over, it is safe to return to the activities we all enjoy – in terms of socialising, exercise, family, work and travel.”

Read More

Message submitting... Thank you for waiting.

Want us to email you top stories each lunch time?

Download our Apps
© 2024, developed by Square1 and powered by