The Minister for Health, Stephen Donnelly TD, has today confirmed that, based on advice received by the Chief Medical Officer (CMO) from the National Immunisation Advisory Committee (NIAC), those aged 12-15 years will be offered an mRNA vaccine to protect themselves from COVID-19.
To date, two mRNA vaccines have been approved by the European Medicines Agency (EMA) for use in this age group - Comirnaty® (Pfizer/BioNTech) and Spikevax® (Moderna). During clinical trials the estimate for efficacy of both vaccines was reported as 100% in these age groups.
Minister Donnelly said: “I am delighted to be in a position to confirm that our young people will be offered an opportunity to protect themselves from COVID-19. Yesterday, I announced that the vaccine registration portal was opening to all those aged 16 and 17 years old and today’s announcement is an important step in offering that same protection to our younger population.
“We are continuing to see an increase in cases of COVID-19 among our young people and vaccination, along with continued adherence to the public health advice, remains the best protection we can offer in terms of reducing the risk of severe disease, maintaining access to educational opportunities and the range of social activities that we are all so conscious this age group in particular have lost due to this pandemic. Support for parents and young people will be made available to help them make the best decision for them.”
“The outstanding progress of our COVID-19 vaccination programme is making continues. To date, we have administered 5.55 million doses. This has resulted in a marked reduction in levels of severe disease and hospitalisation and enabled us to continue with the safe re-opening of Irish society.” Minister Donnelly said.
Minister Donnelly also confirmed that the Department of Health and the Department of Foreign Affairs are engaging on matters relating to the donation of COVID-19 vaccine which, in the short to medium term at least, will not be required in Ireland.
“Ireland’s involvement in COVAX is further evidence of the strong sense of global solidarity that all Irish people feel and is an extension of the ongoing international support we have offered to countries suffering from the impact of COVID-19. Ireland is committed to the global coordinated effort to foster equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines.
“While addressing the needs of our own population, we must also meet, our international humanitarian responsibilities. Since Ireland’s Vaccination Programme began late last year, the principles of moral equality, fairness and solidarity have been our guiding light. Ireland’s involvement in the international COVAX effort is a natural extension of that objective.”
NOTES TO EDITOR:
The NIAC advice strongly encourages those aged 12-15 years of age with underlying medical conditions, those living with a younger child with complex medical needs, or with an immunocompromised adult to accept vaccination at the earliest opportunity.