The health service has warned there is still “a small but really important number” of people who have not yet been vaccinated against Covid-19.
The HSE's national lead on Covid-19 test and tracing, Eileen Whelan, told RTÉ radio’s Today with Claire Byrne that there are between 150,000 to 200,000 people in the Republic who have not been vaccinated.
She said a disproportionate number of people who are admitted to hospital due to Covid-19 have not been vaccinated.
The HSE is encouraging people who are eligible for the booster vaccine to come forward as the vaccine remains the best protection against the virus, she said.
People aged 50 and older can now make an appointment for their second booster on the HSE’s website with boosters being administered at vaccination centres and through participating GP surgeries and pharmacies.
Women who are more than 16 weeks pregnant or individuals who are 12 or older with weak immune systems are also eligible to seek appointments for second boosters once four months have passed since their initial booster dose.
Individuals are also required to wait four months after a Covid-19 infection before they can receive a second booster dose.
Immunocompromised children aged between five and 11 who are due their first boosters will be asked to register soon for these third doses.
People aged between 12 and 49 with long-term health conditions will be offered second boosters from next week, followed by healthcare workers shortly.
Ms Whelan pointed out that the World Health Organisation was still concerned about the virus especially going into the winter.
She said there was a “fake sense of confidence” that the disease was gone. New variants were still a possibility so it was important for people to get vaccinated, Ms Whelan added.
From October, a third booster — a fifth vaccine dose overall — will be offered to people aged 65 and older along with those aged 12 and older with weak immune systems.
The National Immunisation Advisory Committee has recommended that these doses be administered with the seasonal flu vaccine amid concerns that the State could be facing a bad flu season in light of Australia’s experience during its winter over recent weeks.