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Six-month-old babies will be eligible for the Covid-19 vaccine from next week

Children aged six months to 4 years old can avail of the vaccine from Monday.

ALL CHILDREN AGED six months to 4 years old will be eligible to receive a Covid-19 vaccine from next week, the HSE has said. 

In a statement, the HSE said the National Immunisation Advisory Committee (NIAC) recommended the vaccine for children in this age cohort who have underlying health conditions which put them at higher risk from the virus.

The advisory group has also recommended that the vaccine be offered to all children in this age group to protect them from severe disease, provide extra protection from the rare risks of serious illness from Covid, as well as reducing household transmission to those who are immunocompromised or too young for vaccination.

The age group can avail of the vaccine from Monday, while appointments can be made on the HSE website from today. 

A parent or legal guardian will need to attend the appointment in person and give consent for their child to get their Covid vaccine.

Dr Aparna Keegan, a specialist in public health medicine at the HSE National Immunisation Office (NIO), said the health service is encouraging parents to familiarise themselves with advice on the children’s Covid-19 vaccine with information on the HSE website.

“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,” Keegan said.

“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.”

Pfizer vaccine

In line with NIAC guidance, children aged six months to 4 years old will be offered a Comirnaty (Pfizer/BioNTech) vaccine.

The HSE said the vaccine for this age group is a smaller dose than the vaccine for children aged 5-11.

They will need three doses of the vaccine with a three weeks interval between the first and second dose, and at least eight weeks between the second and third dose. 

It is also recommended that the Covid-19 vaccine is separated from the administration of other vaccines by 14 days.

If a child has had Covid and their first vaccine dose is due, they can be vaccinated four weeks after they first develop symptoms or test positive for the virus. However, for their vaccine to be most effective, it is recommended to wait six months.

They can also receive their second or third dose from four weeks after they first develop symptoms or test positive for Covid. 

Parents of children with additional needs who might need an alternative appointment at a quieter time, and parents who wish to make appointments for more than one child at the same time can also contact HSELive on 1800 700 700.

Community Vaccination Centres across the country will commence the roll out of clinics from Monday, with many commencing clinics later in the week and over the following weekend. Vaccines are currently only available through the community vaccination centres.

The HSE said that clinic details will be updated on a rolling basis and advised parents to check its website for updates on availability in the coming weeks.

Some counties, including Mayo and Donegal, will commence clinics from 2 March, it added.

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