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Government to consider offering a one-shot vaccine to younger people; HSE plans to vaccinate children aged 12-17 years

DUBLIN: The Government plans to offer single-dose vaccines to younger people in Ireland. The decision to ramp up vaccination was fueled by the understanding that there was no other option except to vaccinate everyone in order to reopen the indoor activities and hospitality sector.

The Government hopes that vaccination will be a decisive factor in Ireland’s reopening, since EU Digital COVID passports are also slated to go into effect on July 19. They are also under pressure due to high level of criticism following the delay in reopening on July 5.

HSE to vaccinate children aged 12 to 17 years

The Health and Safety Executive is preparing action plans to vaccinate children between the ages of 12 and 17 in the country. Previously, the European Medicines Agency granted approval to administer the Pfizer vaccine to 16-17-year-olds, but this has now been reduced to 12-17-year-olds. The EMA is expected to make a decision this month on whether to use the modern vaccine for 12-17 people.

Vaccine to be given on a call-in or walk-in basis

Tánaiste Leo Varadkar told the Fine Gael parliamentary party that the Government is considering vaccinating young people at pharmacies on a call-in or walk-in basis.

Vaccination of youngsters is being enhanced in response to new guidelines saying that Janssen (J&J) and AstraZeneca vaccines can be used by anyone under the age of 50.

Mr. Varadkar explained that the single-shot Janssen jab, developed by Johnson and Johnson, is being examined to see if it can be given to young people in pharmacies on a call-in or walk-in basis. The Tánaiste said he hopes the delay in resuming indoor dining can be remedied by vaccinating young people quickly.

COVID pass for indoor hospitality

Mr. Varadkar also hinted that the Digital COVID Certificate (DCC) could be used as a Covid pass to access indoor hospitality from next month for people who have been vaccinated, are COVID negative, or have recovered from the disease. A DCC will include proof that a passenger who intends to fly overseas has been fully vaccinated, has recovered from COVID in the last nine months, or has tested negative for the virus.

Mr. Varadkar said the Government would consider allowing indoor hospitality for those who test negative for the virus, contrary to the NPHET recommendation. The Tánaiste says there is no other way to quickly resume indoor and hospitality services.

He said the vaccination program would take two to three weeks to accelerate, and that NPHET could redo its modeling only at this stage. The Tánaiste said that no date has been set for reopening hospitality, and that a decision will be made only after a review on July 19.  

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