HSE chief calls on 700,000 people who are eligible for a booster jab to get one

Hse Chief Calls On 700,000 People Who Are Eligible For A Booster Jab To Get One
Paul Reid also urged the public to “make their own judgement” and to continue to wear masks in congregated settings. Photo: PA Images
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Vivienne Clarke

The HSE’s director general Paul Reid has called on the 700,000 people who are now eligible for their booster vaccination to do so.

These people are now eligible because it has been three months since they had Covid-19 he explained to RTÉ radio’s Today with Claire Byrne show.


Mr Reid also urged the public to “make their own judgement” and to continue to wear masks in congregated settings, on public transport and in care home settings.

His call comes as 1,308 people are in hospital with Covid-19, 49 of them in ICU. Mr Reid said that 50 per cent of those hospitalised had been admitted with other conditions and when tested it was found that they had Covid-19.

There had been a “significant increase” in the last 14 days in the numbers being hospitalised.

“We are still dealing with a highly transmissible virus.”


A high percentage of patients were aged over 75 which led to further problems as there were fewer places in nursing homes because of Covid outbreaks.

The health system was under pressure, he said.

Vaccinating children

While the Omicron variant had a less severe impact, hospitals still had to implement infection controls which put pressure on spaces. Some hospitals had to cancel elective surgeries, but private hospitals were being utilised for elective care.

The situation would continue to be monitored, he added.


“It all revolves around bed capacity.”

The higher levels of Omicron in the community had also led to increased levels of staff being absent – 4,200 last week.

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At the peak between 6,000 to 7,000 were not at work because of Covid. A further 900 staff at nursing homes were also absent because of the virus, he said.

It was not an unusual occurrence for some people to be reinfected in March having had the virus in January, said Mr Reid. After holiday weekends it was expected that levels of the virus in the community would rise, he added and that was also likely following the longer St Patrick’s weekend.

Mr Reid also encouraged parents to have their children vaccinated as only 25 per cent of children aged five to 11 had received their first vaccine and only 18 per cent had received their second vaccine.

This was very important especially at a time when transmission levels in the community were so high. The more people who were boosted, the more protection there was for everyone.

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