Dr Denis O'Keeffe: 'There is increasing evidence that your protection wanes after two shots of vaccine against the Covid-19 virus over time'
UL Hospitals Group has begun offering an additional dose of Covid-19 vaccine to people aged 12 and over, whose immune systems are weakened and do not generate full immune response to the first two vaccine doses.
The Group’s Covid-19 vaccinators have administered additional doses of the vaccine to dialysis patients in University Hospital Limerick and at the Limerick Dialysis Centre in Fresenius Medical Care, Dock Road, and to patients in haematology and dermatology clinics.
Most of the approximately 8,000 people in this patient cohort will be offered vaccination in the Mid-West Covid-19 vaccination centres at Limerick Racecourse, the West County Hotel, Ennis, or the Abbey Court Hotel, Nenagh. Some patients will be vaccinated through their GPs.
The additional vaccine dose, which maximises protection against the serious effects of Covid-19, is in line with recommendations from the National Immunisation Advisory Committee (NIAC), that people aged 12 and older who are immunocompromised at the time of vaccination due to disease or treatment, should receive one additional dose of the vaccine.
It is recommended that people with the following conditions or treatments should get an additional dose of vaccine: cancer, kidney disease, HIV, transplants, genetic diseases, high-dose systemic steroids, and other systemic medications potentially associated with immune-compromise. Full information on these and other conditions and medications is available here.
UL Hospitals Group is urging anyone with a weakened immune system to get vaccinated against Covid-19. A weakened immune system puts you at a higher risk of serious illness if you become infected with Covid-19.
Dr Denis O’Keeffe, Consultant Haematologist and Clinical Director, Cancer Services, UL Hospitals Group, said: "There is increasing evidence that your protection wanes after two shots of vaccine against the Covid-19 virus over time. This is particularly true for patients who are immunocompromised or were at the time of their original vaccination. This will include many patients who have had cancer treatment or are receiving cancer treatment. We strongly advocate that all people with such a history now have this additional shot for Covid-19."
You do not have to register or contact anyone. In the Mid-West, and across the country, hospitals are identifying this patient cohort, and contacting them by text message with their appointments.
Appointments have begun for those aged 16 years and over. As the vaccination programme for the 12 years to 15 years started later, those aged 12 years to 15 years who have been identified for an additional dose, will be offered an appointment at a later date. This is to facilitate the two-month minimum interval from their last dose of COVID-19 vaccine.
Regardless of which COVID-19 vaccine course you have had previously, you will be offered a single dose of either Pfizer/BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine or Moderna Covid-19 vaccine.
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