Marked decline in take-up of second Covid-19 boosters compared with first booster doses – The Irish Times

There has been a marked reduction in the number of second Covid-19 booster vaccines taken up by eligible people compared with the first round of additional doses, new figures show.

Just two-thirds of all people aged between 65 and 69 eligible for second boosters have received them, the Health Service Executive (HSE) said.

In older age groups, 70 per cent of eligible people aged 70 to 74 have received second boosters, with the rate rising to 74 per cent among those aged 75 to 79 and 80 to 84.

The proportion drops to 69.6 per cent among eligible people aged 85 years and over. A similar percentage of people with weakened immune systems have taken up second boosters.

Overall, the take-up of second boosters has been 70 per cent of the eligible population. This compares with more than 90 per cent of people in older age groups and the immunocompromised who received first booster doses, mostly in the second half of last year.

In total, just over 546,000 people out of an estimated eligible population of 779,000 have received a second booster dose. The HSE began offering second boosters to people aged 65 and over in April.

The HSE on Thursday started inviting people aged 50 and older to make an appointment for their second booster as the health service encouraged the public to keep up with their vaccinations as protection from previous doses may weaken with time.

People can make appointments on the HSE’s website with boosters being administered at vaccination centres and through participating GP surgeries and pharmacies.

“Keeping up to date with your vaccines will give you the best protection from serious illness and increase immunity against infection from Covid-19,” said Dr Colm Henry, the HSE’s chief clinical officer.

He told people who had not yet received their primary vaccination that it was “not too late” to book an appointment for the initial two-dose vaccinations.

People aged 50 or older, women who are more than 16 weeks pregnant or individuals who are 12 or older with weak immune systems are now 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.

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.

Separately, the latest monthly Covid-19 deaths report from the Health Protection Surveillance Centre shows that there were 62 deaths of people with the disease during the month to August 20th, bringing the total number of coronavirus deaths in the State during the pandemic to 7,758.

The monthly total compares with 90 deaths in July, 50 in June and 63 in May. The mean age of the latest deaths reported for August was 77 and the median age was 79.

There were 288 people in hospital with Covid-19 on Thursday morning, a slight increase from 285 people the previous day. There were 15 people in intensive care units, down two.

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