Pharmacies around the country are restoring vaccine stocks as they prepare to join the booster rollout next week.
On Lunchtime Live this morning, the Secretary General of the Irish Pharmacy Union Darragh O'Loughlin said chemists will increase the capacity of the booster programme by nearly one-third in the coming weeks.
He said the State is currently delivering around 220,000 vaccine doses a week – and that will increase to around 280,000 when doctors and pharmacies come back on board.
“The booster vaccination programme in pharmacies is just kicking off this week,” he said. “We only had the official announcement it was starting off on Wednesday.
“Pharmacies that are participating in that - and there are hundreds of them - have ordered stock and will be receiving stock next week and into the following week.”
He said the shots being administered now are mostly boosters but anyone who needs first of second shots can also come in and get it done.
Earlier this week, NIAC recommended booster doses for everyone over the age of 50 as well as people aged 16 to 59 who are living with an underlying condition.
Third doses were already being rolled out to the over-70s, health workers and the immunocompromised.
Mr O'Loughlin said people who are eligible don’t need to wait for the HSE to contact them to get an appointment.
“If you are aged over 60 and if your second dose – even in a vaccination centre – was more than five months ago, you can go to any participating pharmacy for your booster shot,” he said.
“Otherwise, you can wait to get your appointment, or you can register yourself with the HSE to get an appointment.
“If you are over 50, you can go to a HSE clinic to get that or wait for an appointment to get it.
“The key thing is, it has to be at least five months and ideally six months since your second dose.”
In its latest advice, the National Immunisation Advisory Committee (NIAC) noted that eligible people who received the Janssen (J&J) shot should only wait three months for their booster.
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