WATCH: Prioritise Boosters for J&J Recipients

Full transcript:

Deputy Costello: Like others, I wish to extend the Christmas cheer, thank the staff and my fellow Deputies and wish everyone a joyful and restful Christmas. Vaccine efficacy wanes over time and the national immunisation advisory committee, NIAC, and the European Medicines Agency, EMA, say the Johnson & Johnson vaccine needs to be boosted after three months. The EMA even said it should be two months. The booster roll-out is progressing well but is focusing on cohorts by age. We are dealing mostly with young cohorts who got the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, are now in need of a booster and will be at the end of the queue. Can we look at reassessing the need for a booster and having a roll-out based on need and vulnerability? That would mean recognising the younger cohorts who are more vulnerable at this time.

Tánaiste: I thank the Deputy. I do not have it in front of me but there was some revised NIAC advice today on that issue. When it comes to the third or booster dose, they are working down through the age cohorts, from 50-somethings through 40-somethings and 30-somethings and then those aged 16 to 29. We are saying to pharmacists and doctors to use common sense and discretion and, if they have vaccines they can use, to use them. I understand NIAC has identified those who received the single-dose Janssen vaccine to be prioritised. They are not at the end of the list. I think they are at the same time as the 30-somethings but I will get the Deputy the exact information on that.