A professor of immunology says a perceived 'race' between the Omicron COVID-19 variant and the booster programme will 'go on for some time'.
Paul Moynagh also believes the approach to boosters needs to be streamlined with an appointment-based system.
He was speaking after Higher Education Simon Harris suggested now is the time to "boost the booster campaign"
Prof Moynagh is director of the Kathleen Lonsdale Institute for Human Health Research at Maynooth University
Asked if it is a race against time between boosters and Omicron, he told Newstalk Breakfast: "I think 'the race' suggests there's sort of an end to this race - I think this race is going to go on for some time.
"The Omicron variant will become another variant, but there's no doubt that the booster will help.
"We know from early data that does suggest that the booster will help in terms of minimising the number of infections.
"Obviously the quicker we role out boosters the better, in terms of protecting and minimising the impact of Omicron.
"So I think there is a lot of urgency attached to rolling out the booster programme as efficiently as possible."
But he says an appointment-based system should be used to bring more order to the process.
"I think maybe even an appointment-based system, based on when people become eligible, I think that would probably work very efficiently.
"I know the EMA [European Medicines Agency] came out last week and they suggested that while the initial recommendation was for the booster to be given six months after the second dose, they've now indicated that actually three months after the second dose is safe and effective.
"So I think as soon as we can get the boosters rolled out, the better".
Referring to issues around access to boosters last week, which saw some people turned away, he says it needs to be streamlined.
"The system needs to be streamlined as much as possible.
"So maybe an appointment-based system, based on when people become eligible, that seems to me would be the most efficient".
He adds that younger people, who received a single-dose Janssen vaccine, should be moved up the queue.
"I think that group needs to be prioritised... that was a single-dose vaccine.
"Initially the protection is very good, but immunity does wane - not so much in terms of protection against serious illness, but certainly in terms of protection against initial infection and mild infection.
"They've got a single dose, and it's almost like they're getting their second dose now with the booster".