Micheál Martin has “no issue with the principle” of vaccinating children aged five and over.
The Taoiseach made his remarks following the news that the Pfizer - BioNTech vaccine had been proven safe and effective for children between the ages of five and 12.
At clinical trials, children were given a smaller dose than adults, with a second shot administered 21 days later. Scientists found that children developed antibody responses of a similar level to those aged between 16 and 25.
Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla said: “Over the past nine months, hundreds of millions of people ages 12 and older from around the world have received our COVID-19 vaccine.
"We are eager to extend the protection afforded by the vaccine to this younger population, subject to regulatory authorization, especially as we track the spread of the Delta variant and the substantial threat it poses to children.
"These trial results provide a strong foundation for seeking authorisation of our vaccine for children 5 to 11 years old, and we plan to submit them to the FDA and other regulators with urgency.”
In August, 12-15 year olds became eligible in Ireland for vaccination, provided they have the consent of a parent or guardian.
Any decision on whether to give the vaccine to children below that age is unlikely until it has been approved by the European Medicines Agency.
Speaking to Newstalk, Children’s Minister Roderic O'Gorman said the vaccine would be “definitely something we are looking at rolling out here.”
When asked if vaccination was likely to begin before Christmas, the Minister said it was entirely dependent on the vaccine’s approval by regulators.
“I imagine it [approval] would be a number of months away before the Irish and European health authorities would be making final determinations on the usability of that particular vaccine.”
Main Image: Parents and their children queue in the pouring rain outside the Citywest Covid-19 Vaccination Centre in DublinPicture by: Damien Storan/PA Wire/PA Images