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Approval for mixing of COVID-19 vaccines; Booster dose vaccine in Ireland by October

DUBLIN: Ireland plans to administer booster doses during the winter as part of its efforts to strengthen COVID-19 defence. Health Minister Stephen Donnelly said the government’s decision to launch an extensive booster dose campaign followed the recommendation of the National Immunisation Advisory Committee (NIAC) that a mixing of different vaccines is safe.

It means that people who received an AstraZeneca vaccine as a first dose can get a second shot with either Pfizer or Moderna vaccines. This also paves the way for the autumn-winter COVID-19 vaccination booster campaign. The government is awaiting NIAC’s final guidelines in this respect, which are expected to be issued next week.

People over the age of sixty were dissatisfied because they couldn’t use any other vaccine except AstraZeneca. Also, its efficacy was not as great as that of Pfizer or Moderna. So many people who received the first dose were waiting for a second dose of the Pfizer or Modena vaccine. The latest move will be a great relief to them.

Booster doses in Ireland by October

Booster doses are expected to be given in early October. The most vulnerable groups would be the first in line to receive both a flu and a COVID-19 vaccine at the one time.

The health minister said that “people who received one dose of AstraZeneca vaccine who decided not to get a second dose or were advised not to that we can now mix the vaccines.”

Mr Donnelly said the campaign would be implemented as soon as possible in collaboration with HSE. Priority groups will include nursing home residents, those over the age of 70, people whose immune systems are compromised due to illness, and healthcare workers. The minister said he expects to receive details of the campaign from NIAC next week.

He said the booster dose would be given to all those who have been fully vaccinated, including those who have received the single dose of Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

Booster dose is still up to debate

Germany and Israel have announced plans for booster-shot programmes. The UAE, China and Russia have already started administering extra doses. However, health experts are divided on whether a booster shot is necessary.

The World Health Organization (WHO) has previously called for a moratorium on booster shots until at least the end of September, citing poorer nations still struggling with the first stages of vaccination roll out.

The WHO said on Wednesday that current data does not indicate the necessity for COVID-19 booster shots. It added that before high-income nations deploy a top-up, the most vulnerable people in the world should be fully vaccinated.

The WHO’s statement came just before the US government announced plans to make booster shots widely available to all Americans starting September 20th, as infections from the Delta variant of the coronavirus rise.

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