Government aiming to begin vaccination of primary school children before Christmas

ireland
Government Aiming To Begin Vaccination Of Primary School Children Before Christmas Government Aiming To Begin Vaccination Of Primary School Children Before Christmas
Approval must first be given by the National Immunisation Advisory Committee (Niac) before five to 11-year-olds can receive the vaccine. Photo: PA Images
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Muireann Duffy

Additional reporting by Vivienne Clarke.

The Government is said to be aiming to commence the vaccination of primary school children before Christmas as the incidence of Covid-19 among younger children has soared in recent weeks.

The Irish Examiner reports vaccines for children aged five to 11-years-old could arrive in Ireland by December 13th.

Last week, the European Medicines Agency (EMA) gave the green-light for a paediatric dose of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine for children in the cohort.

The measure will first need to be approved by the National Immunisation Advisory Committee (Niac) before the administration of vaccines to children under 12 can begin in Ireland.

It is understood the HSE is already planning the logistics of administering the doses to children, while there will also be an online information campaign launched to ensure parents are fully informed.

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This comes as new measures for children were announced earlier this week, including the requirement that primary school children from third class and upwards wear masks while at school.

Parents have also been urged to limit their children's social contacts, with public health officials calling for indoor social gatherings, such as sleepovers and indoor play dates to be avoided.

Socialising

However, Covid lead from the Irish College of General Practitioners (ICGP), Dr Nuala O'Connor said all age groups should be monitoring and reducing the social contacts in order to reduce the country's high level of transmission.

Speaking to RTÉ Radio's Today with Claire Byrne show, Dr O'Connor said society was “virtually open” so it was important for people to focus on what they could do and to consider the consequences of their actions.

General practices were very busy at present, she said, not just with Covid cases, but with the usual winter respiratory viruses.

“How we all behave in the next two weeks will determine what sort of Christmas we have,” she added.

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If everyone was careful about how they socialise, then a meaningful Christmas was possible, but for that to happen there needed to be a downward trend in numbers “day by day”, she explained.

She added there are “multiple ways” this could be achieved, with the booster campaign playing an important role.

Dr O'Connor said it was heartening in the past few weeks that up to 10,000 people per week were being vaccinated for the first time. The numbers of pregnant women being vaccinated was also increasing, which she described as “fantastic”.

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