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Community booster vaccination campaign to begin in early October

The community Covid-19 booster vaccination programme is set to begin in early October, GPs have been informed.

In a recent webinar for members, the IMO asked GPs to begin identifying patients who are eligible to receive the mRNA booster shot. Vaccines will start being administered from 4 October next, it is understood.

People aged 80 and over living in the community and who were fully vaccinated over six months ago are being targeted for a third, booster vaccination against Covid-19.

It is expected that boosters will be extended to other age cohorts in the future, but this has yet to be confirmed.

Those aged 65 and over living in residential facilities will be given their booster shot by HSE teams. A third dose of the vaccine will also be provided to individuals aged over 12 who are immunocompromised.

There are more than 158,000 people aged 80 and over living in community and residential settings in Ireland.

It is expected that the majority of GPs will administer boosters. In cases where a GP is unable to provide the vaccine, their patients aged over 80 will be vaccinated at another GP surgery or by the HSE.

GPs will also shortly begin delivering influenza vaccines, with both vaccines being delivered simultaneously to increase uptake.

Influenza and Covid-19 booster vaccines can be given at the same time or “at any interval apart”, according to Prof Karina Butler, Chair of the national immunisation advisory committee.

Three separate influenza vaccines protecting individuals against four virus strains will be delivered in Ireland this winter, each one targeted at certain age groups and illness cohorts.

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