HSE Press Release: Wednesday, 29th December 2021
HSE and Children’s Health Ireland hold one of the first COVID-19 vaccination clinics for priority children
Today, one of the first HSE COVID-19 vaccination clinics for children aged 5-11 was held in CityWest. COVID-19 vaccines are being introduced for children aged 5-11 over the coming weeks, with children at highest risk from COVID-19 being offered vaccines first, in line with the guidance of the National Immunisation Advisory Committee (NIAC).
Today’s first vaccination clinics are for children who are patients of Children’s Health Ireland (CHI) and currently attending hospital. These clinics offered vaccines to children with significant underlying conditions or who are immunocompromised, and their siblings where appropriate. Clinics are initially being run in paediatric hospitals or units, with the vaccine rollout for 5- 11-year-olds to continue over the coming weeks through the HSE’s vaccination centres.
Children aged 5 – 11 years who:
have a health condition that puts them at risk of severe illness from COVID-19
who live with someone who is at higher risk from COVID-19 can be registered for their COVID-19 vaccine from December 28th. All other children will be invited to register during January 2022.
Dr Colm Henry, HSE CCO, added: “The children’s vaccine is a source of relief and hope for many parents all over the country who have vulnerable children, or whose child is living with someone at higher risk. This vaccine has been shown to offer protection from COVID-19 and will be given to children of this age in a smaller dose than the adult dose. We are encouraging parents and guardians to visit our website where they will find information to help make an informed decision when it is time for their child to be offered a COVID-19 vaccine.”
Chief Medical Officer of Children’s Health Ireland (CHI), Dr Allan Goldman is urging all eligible children to avail of vaccination. “Although severe disease is rare, it does occur and can occur in children who were previously well. We would urge parents to seek information on the vaccination from reputable and scientific sources like hse.ie”
“A small number of patients of CHI at Temple Street, Crumlin, Tallaght and Connolly identified as in the highest clinical risk by paediatricians, are being vaccinated at the earliest opportunity at a dedicated clinic. If parents know that their child has an underlying medical condition, we would urge them to register their child on the HSE website as soon as possible. Parents, medical professionals, the HSE, CHI – we must all work together to ensure children, especially medically vulnerable children, are protected against COVID-19.”
Dr Lucy Jessop, Director of the HSE’s National Immunisation Office, said: “ As we move into the next phase of the COVID-19 vaccination programme, we know that parents have questions about the COVID-19 vaccine for children. I would encourage parents with children aged 5-11 to visit the hse.ie website where they will find information about the vaccination programme and allow families to make an informed decision for their children. I would also encourage parents to speak to a trusted health professional if they have questions.”
Getting a COVID-19 vaccine should protect your child from getting COVID-19. Through serious illness from COVID-19 is rare in this age group, they are even less likely to become seriously ill with COVID-19 if they are vaccinated.
What vaccine will be offered to all children aged 5 – 11?
The vaccine your child will be offered is called Comirnaty(Pfrizer/BioNTech). Children in this age group will be given a smaller dose of the vaccine than adults.
When will children be vaccinated?
Registration for vaccines for higher-risk children in this age group will open on December 28th, and the HSE will publicise this widely in the media to ensure parents are informed.
Children with high-risk conditions, or who live with someone who is more at risk, will be invited to register online and will be offered an appointment at a dedicated vaccination clinic for this age group.
How does the vaccine work?
This mRNA vaccine teaches your child’s body how to make a protein that will trigger an immune response, without using the live virus that caused COVID-19.
Your child’s body then makes antibodies that help fight the infection if the COVID-19 virus enters their body in the future. Before vaccination, you will be asked to give consent for your child to get the vaccine and this consent will be recorded.
Which children should be vaccinated first?
COVID-19 vaccines are strongly recommended by the National Immunisation Advisory Committee (NIAC) for children aged 5 to 11 years who:
· have a health condition that puts them at high risk of severe illness if they get COVID-19
· live with a younger child or adult who is at risk of severe illness if they get COVID-19 e.g. another child with complex medical needs, or an immunocompromised adult.
Why will the vaccine be offered to all children aged 5 to 11?
Our aim in offering the vaccine to this population is to protect people and reduce the illness and deaths caused by this virus. Getting a COVID-19 vaccine should protect your child and those around them from getting COVID-19.
Though serious illness from COVID-19 is rare in this age group, they are even less likely to become seriously ill with COVID-19 if they are vaccinated.
As part of our information and guidance on COVID-19 vaccines for children, further information is available from the links below, which is aimed at helping parents and guardians of 5 – 11 year children make an informed decision on getting their child vaccinated against COVID-19.