Third Covid vaccination for people with weakened immune systems

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 by Tom McCullough

THE University of Limerick Hospitals Group is offering an additional dose of Covid-19 vaccine to people aged 12 and over, whose immune systems didn’t generate a full immune response to the first two vaccine doses.

The Group’s vaccinators have already administered additional doses of the vaccine to dialysis patients in University Hospital Limerick and at the Limerick Dialysis Centre in Fresenius Medical Care on the Dock Road, as well as  patients in haematology and dermatology clinics.

Most of the estimated 8,000 people in this patient cohort will be offered vaccination at the Mid-West Vaccination Centres at Limerick Racecourse, the West County Hotel, Ennis, or the Abbey Court Hotel, Nenagh.

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Some patients will be vaccinated by their family doctors.

Consultant Haematologist Dr Denis O’Keeffe, who is Clinical Director of Cancer Services with the UL Hospitals Group, said there is increasing evidence that protection wanes against the Covid virus after two shots of vaccine over time.

“This is particularly true for patients who are immunocompromised or were at the time of their original vaccination. This will include many patients who have had cancer treatment or are receiving cancer treatment. We strongly advocate that all people with such a history now have this additional vaccination.”

“You do not have to register or contact anyone. In the Mid-West, and across the country, hospitals are identifying this patient cohort, and contacting them by text message with their appointments,” he explained.

Appointments have begun for those aged 16 years and over. As the vaccination programme for the 12 years to 15 years started later, those aged 12 years to 15 years who have been identified for an additional dose, will be offered an appointment at a later date.

This is to facilitate the two-month minimum interval from their last dose of the vaccine.

Regardless of which vaccine course people have had previously, they will be offered a single dose of either the Pfizer/BioNTech or the Moderna vaccines.

Separately over the past week, UL Hospitals Group vaccinators were working with 45 private and 9 public nursing homes across the region, in support of the Covid vaccine booster programme for people aged 65 or older and living in a nursing home or long-term residential care facility.