Ireland to offer children under age of 4 Covid-19 vaccines

Vaccination programme will be rolled out on Monday, aimed at young children with underlying health conditions

Health authorities have recommended vaccination for all children in this age group to protect them and to reduce transmission. PA
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A Covid-19 vaccination programme for children aged six months to four years will begin in Ireland on Monday.

The National Immunisation Advisory Committee has recommended vaccination for all children in this age group to protect them and to reduce transmission.

The vaccine will be offered to children in this age group who have underlying health conditions that place them at higher risk of contracting the virus.

Children will be able to receive the smaller dose of the comirnaty (Pfizer/BioNTech) vaccine at community vaccination centres.

Each child will require three doses with an interval of at least three weeks between doses one and two, and at least eight weeks between doses two and three.

Parents or legal guardians will need to give consent for their child to be vaccinated.

Children who have contracted the virus can still receive the vaccine, but it is recommended to wait four weeks after their symptoms first appeared or they tested positive for the vaccine to be most effective.

Children will be able to receive the smaller dose of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine. PA

According to Ireland's Health Service Executive: “For all children in this age group, the recommendation of NIAC is that the benefits of vaccination are greater than the risks from the vaccine, meaning this age group can be offered the vaccine.”

Aparna Keegan, specialist in public health medicine at the HSE National Immunisation Office, said: “We are encouraging parents to familiarise themselves with HSE advice on the children’s Covid-19 vaccine with information available at www.hse.ie.

“We know from listening to parents they have questions about getting the Covid-19 vaccine for their children.

“This is why we have provided information on our website to help parents make an informed decision.

Parents or legal guardians will need to give consent for their children to be vaccinated. AP

“While serious illness from Covid-19 in this age group is rare, this vaccine offers further protection particularly for children who have health conditions that put them at high risk of severe Covid-19.”

The most common symptoms of Covid-19 are a fever of 38°C or above, dry cough and fatigue.

The HSE said in a leaflet that “Covid-19 can cause serious illness, hospitalisation or death in children, but this is very rare”.

“Although the risk of hospitalisation and serious disease is very low in this age group, it is higher than in older children.”

Updated: February 17, 2023, 5:46 PM
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