The Taoiseach has said on Friday that a decision on the potential vaccination against Covid-19 of children aged five and over will be made within the next month according to the Irish Independent.
Micheál Martin said antigen testing, an accelerated booster campaign and the potential vaccination of children will play a key role in defeating the Covid surge before Christmas.
Speaking in Clonmel, the Taoiseach was opening a new 40 bed modular unit at Tipperary University Hospital, he stressed that the provision of extra acute hospital capacity and intensive care unit beds is now vital heading into the winter months.
“I spoke to the chief medical officer. There is no return to widespread contact tracing for children because we do not want children out of school for ten days unnecessarily“.
“But the European Centre for Disease Control advice which has arrived in recent days is such that there may be selective situations where it might pilot the use of antigen in selected situations.
“Covid-19 is spread in the community more than it is in schools and that basically schools have remained safe places for children” he added.
Mr Martin said antigen testing may play a greater role in Ireland’s fight against Covid-19 in future.
“NIAC are giving very active consideration to healthcare workers and the administration of the booster vaccine there.
“Also the US Food and Drug Administration have approved the use of vaccines for children aged between five and 12 years.”
“I understand that the European Medicines Agency will now give that consideration and then, when the EMA have given it consideration, NIAC and our authorities will give it consideration too.”
“But that is some weeks away – probably a month away before authorities are in a position to make an assessment in respect of vaccines for children.”