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'I’m extremely sorry': HSE boss apologises after high-risk kids passed over for vaccination

HSE Chief Paul Reid said that the issue is now resolved and high-risk children should receive appointments shortly.

Image: Shutterstock/Ira Lichi

HIGH RISK CHILDREN between the ages of 5-11 were passed over for vaccination, despite the system opening in late December, due to a scheduling issue at several vaccination centres.

HSE Chief Executive Paul Reid confirmed that there was a scheduling issue that stopped high-risk children from being offered a Covid-19 vaccine sooner than all other children between 5-11.

Speaking at a HSE press briefing this afternoon, Reid apologised for the scheduling error and said that that all children impacted should receive an appointment by tomorrow.

“I’m extremely sorry that some of the vulnerable kids didn’t get their appointment from the proper time they should have,” said HSE Chief Executive Paul Reid.

“It is unfortunate and we’re sorry that those children didn’t get their appointments in the proper time.

“Certainly most of those will all have appointments by this evening and at the latest, tomorrow morning.”

He said that the issue was caused by scheduling moving ahead in several centres in particular and that it moved ahead of high-risk children and began offering appointments to children who aren’t high-risk.

He added that the issue has since been resolved.

Reid said that there had been 10,000 high-risk children registered for their Covid-19 vaccine since the portal opened to them on 28 December. The portal then opened for all children on 3 January.

In line with advice issued by the National Immunisation Advisory Committee (Niac), all children in this age cohort will be able to receive the Pfizer/BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine.

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Children between 5-11 who receive the jab will get a lower dose than an adult would receive, and are given the second shot three weeks later.

According to Reid, since the vaccine programme was opened to children between 5-11, there have been 70,000 children registered for the vaccine. Of these, 10,000 are high-risk children.

In total, there have been around 6,500 first doses completed for children between 5-11, with Reid saying that it is a much longer process to register children compared to adults.

“This is a slower process in terms of vaccination,” said Reid, saying that it takes time to get kids processed through vaccination centres.

“It’s at least double the timeframe and so it should be to bring kids through in the proper manner.”

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