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People aged 18 to 49 can now receive a second Covid-19 booster

Appointments can be made on the HSE website, with appointments available from today.

PEOPLE AGED 18 to 49 can now receive their second Covid-19 booster vaccine, the HSE has said.

Appointments can be made on the HSE website, with slots available from today.

There were 3,809 Covid-19 cases in Ireland during the week ending December 24th, compared to 3,118 the previous week, with 737 people in hospital with COVID-19.

Colm Henry, the HSE Chief Clinical Officer, said in a HSE press statement: “We continue to be very concerned about the steep rise in cases of COVID-19, influenza and other respiratory illness at this time.

“Our GPs and hospitals are working hard to support people, but we have seen a more than 100% increase in cases of flu, and people needing hospital admission for flu.”

Last week, he added, there were 2,329 flu cases reported, compared to 1,174 the previous week.

Some 637 needed to go to hospital with the flu, up from from 299 the previous week. Henry said this reflected “widespread transmission over a short period of time.”

“There’s no sign yet that we’ve reached the top of that peak,” he told RTÉ’s Morning Ireland. “This particular winter, with the flu coinciding with the surge in Covid cases … has led to a surge in [hospital] admissions.”

He said it was not too late for people to get the flu vaccine.

“We expect the surge in cases to last at least another few weeks.

Eileen Whelan, the National Lead for Ireland’s Covid-19 Vaccination Programme said: “We are putting the most recent vaccine advice from NIAC (National Immunisation Advisory Committee) into action and inviting everyone aged 18-49 for their second booster, once it is six months since their last vaccine or since they have had a COVID-19 infection.

“I encourage everyone to get their second booster dose. It will give ongoing protection from serious illness, and increase your immunity against infection from COVID-19, which we know tends to reduce after a period of months following your last vaccine.”

Both the Covid-19 and flu vaccine take 14 days to be effective. The new, adapted vaccines will be provided as a booster vaccine for this age group. The bivalent vaccines include components of the original virus strain of Sars-CoV-2 and the Omicron variant.

Speaking on RTÉ’s News at One programme, Whelan said that the bivalent vaccines offer “broader protection”.

“It’s going to offer protection from the new variants that are in circulation. While we know that it’s people over 65 that are most at risk from contracting Covid and most at risk of severe illness, the data that we have at the minute indicates that… 30 to 44 is the group that has the highest number of people positive,” she said, adding that this age group also make up a percentage of those in hospital who have Covid.

“We can see from the evidence that the vaccination has made a huge difference in relation to the health and well being. It has reduced morbidity, it has reduced mortality, we’re also seeing a reduction in the severity of illness.

“At present, we have double the number of people hospitalised from Covid-19 as we had this time last year. That’s an indication that people are still getting ill and they’re ill enough to require hospital treatment.”

Appointments for vaccination clinics are available on

Booster vaccines may also be available at participating pharmacies and GPs.

Some people in the 18 to 49 age group may have already received their second booster if they are a healthcare worker or have had an underlying health condition.

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