Children as young as 12 could get jab within weeks with 20% of recent Covid cases in teens

Children as young as 12 could get jab within weeks with 20% of recent Covid cases in teens

Children as young as 12 will be able to get Covid-19 vaccinations in the coming weeks after the Government announced an expansion of the vaccine programme.

Children as young as 12 will be able to get Covid-19 vaccinations in the coming weeks after the Government announced an expansion of the vaccine programme.

The decision was taken by Cabinet on foot of advice from the National Immunisation Advisory Council (Niac) and could see 250,000 people in the younger age cohort receive their vaccines in the coming weeks.

Over 20% of Covid cases in recent weeks have been in teenagers, meaning that the Government is keen to extend vaccination. 

To date, two vaccines have been approved for use in children — Pfizer and Moderna — and clinical trials estimate the efficacy of both vaccines as 100% in these age groups.

The Government will also consider a plan to give flu shots and Covid boosters to the most vulnerable in society together from autumn on. 

Niac has told the Government that residents in nursing homes, people over 80, those with underlying conditions and frontline workers can start receiving booster shots in autumn or winter.

The preliminary proposals will be updated in the coming weeks, a Government spokesperson said.

The Department of Health has written to the HSE to request a plan for autumn/winter immunisation programmes, which will include Covid booster shots.

There was also good news for those planning weddings as the Government announced that the number allowed would double from 50 to 100 as of next Thursday.

The move had been in doubt due to the ongoing spread of the Delta variant of the virus, but a number of ministers voiced their support for the move, with one saying that it was "the only fair decision" for couples who had planned on the basis of 100 guests.

There will also be 50 guests allowed attend baptism ceremonies from next week, however, there are no plans to resume communions and confirmations for the foreseeable future.

Other industries which remain closed will have to wait until September for the next government decision on reopening as the Government remains concerned about the spread of Delta. 

Sources say that indications are that Ireland's wave of cases will follow that of Scotland and Netherlands and cases will tail off by the end of August. 

This is in large part due to the advanced stage of Ireland's vaccination programme. 

The Government yesterday said that over 5.5m doses have now been administered, with 70% of people fully vaccinated and over 83% partially vaccinated.

It was also announced that the first walk-in vaccination centres will open this weekend for anyone aged 16 or over that has not yet received a dose. 

There are four in Cork: Clonakilty GAA Club (Saturday), Bantry primary care centre and Cork City Hall (both Sunday), and MTU Cork (Monday).

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