Harris: We're going to see 'much more expanded' booster campaign

Simon Harris says while COVID numbers are rising, hospitalisations are not
Jack Quann
Jack Quann

17.54 5 Nov 2021

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Harris: We're going to see 'mu...

Harris: We're going to see 'much more expanded' booster campaign

Jack Quann
Jack Quann

17.54 5 Nov 2021

Share this article

A Government minister says he expects Ireland will see a 'much more expanded' booster campaign for the general population.

Minister Simon Harris was speaking as doses are currently being given out to those over-60, however it is likely this will be expanded.

The World Health Organsiation (WHO) has reiterated that rich nations should 'hold off' on boosters to leave supplies for poorer nations.


WHO director-general Tedros Ghebreyesus said low-income nations still are not getting sufficient supplies of vaccines.

He said: "No more boosters should be administered, except to immunocompromised people.

"Most countries with high vaccine coverage continue to ignore our call for a global moratorium on boosters, at the expense of health workers and vulnerable groups in low-income countries who are still waiting for the first dose."

While its Special Envoy on COVID-19, Dr David Nabarro, made a direct appeal to Ireland earlier this year.

"We say it to Ireland, because you're on the United Nations Security Council, you're a hugely respected country by nations all over the world," Dr Nabarro said.

"If Ireland can stand up and say 'We don't think there's a case for our people to be given booster shots, at least not now', then perhaps other countries will listen.

"Perhaps even your neighbour next door might listen, who knows, because they need to also shift their policies".

Minister Simon Harris told The Hard Shoulder while numbers are rising, hospitalisations are not.

"Worried, and at the same time, some signs for optimism.

"It's kind of a peculiar situation - the case numbers very very high - the case numbers are clearly rising.

"But the hospital numbers are falling; so we're down to 76 people in ICU today compared to 90 yesterday.

"And of course we think of all them, they're not numbers, they're seriously ill people.

"But this this is what living with COVID looks like.

"We're seeing lots of people, yes, getting COVID - we're also seeing them getting COVID in the context of 92%+ of us being fully vaccinated."

Minister Harris says the booster campaign should be expanded, but this will be based on medical advice.

"I think there's three parts to it: I think there's the rollout of the booster campaign, over-60s now starting, healthcare workers.

"I would certainly think we're going to see a much more expanded booster campaign, and I think we should.

"But we'll be guided by medical advice on that".

And he says better use of antigen testing - as well as people continuing to use "cop on" as they have throughout the pandemic - will also contribute.

Earlier, Tánaiste Leo Varadkar said more boosters are set to be given out.

"I think it will make sense to extend the booster programme to the wider population - really any adult who is more than six months after their second dose.

"But the next group that we're examining is people under-60 with a medical condition.

"And the absolute focus now is on getting it out to the people over-60 through their GPs, through the pharmacies and through the vaccine centres - and that's going really well".

Harris: We're going to see 'much more expanded' booster campaign

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Main image: Tánaiste Leo Varadkar (left) and Minister Simon Harris brief the media at Government Buildings in Dublin in January 2018. Picture by: PA Images / Alamy Stock Photo

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Booster Campaign Dr David Nabarro GPs General Population Leo Varadkar Simon Harris The Hard Shoulder WHO

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