breakingnews.ie– Covid-19 vaccine boosters will be rolled out in the State this week for people over 60 as virus infection rates continue to surge.
The fact healthcare workers are yet to receive a booster vaccine has been the source of much anger on the frontline and the National Immunisation Advisory Committee (Niac) will meet on Monday to discuss extending the programme to healthcare workers.
The Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation (INMO) has called on Niac to roll out booster vaccines to healthcare workers as soon as possible.
INMO General Secretary Phil Ní Sheaghdha wrote to Niac chairwoman Professor Karina Butler on Friday for the second time in a week.
In the letter, Ms Ní Sheaghdha said the risk to healthcare workers “requires additional consideration”.
There are about 2,700 healthcare staff off work at the moment due to Covid, according to the HSE, which has already led to the cancellation of procedures.
More than 100,000 booster vaccines have been administered so far, these have gone to three different groups: over 80s, people in residential care aged over 65 and those who may be immunocompromised.
Boosters are likely to be extended to more of the population following the Niac meeting in Monday, this is likely to be done in descending age groups while booster vaccines for healthcare workers will also come under consideration.
Coalition sources told The Irish Times that the outcome is likely to be an expansion of the programme.
HSE chief clinical officer Com Henry said Ireland should “progress quickly” to get booster shots rolled out to healthcare workers.
Speaking on RTÉ Radio One, he said healthcare staff need boosters “to protect them and patients in what will be a very difficult winter”.
Mr Henry said 3,500 healthcare staff had missed work due to Covid-related illness, adding the “loss of staff isn’t just bad for staff who are sick, or close contacts, but it’s also bad for [delivery of] services”.