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04 Oct 2022

Benefits of 5-11 year olds getting Covid vaccine 'far outweigh the risks' - NIAC Chair

Benefits of 5-11 year olds getting Covid vaccine 'far outweigh the risks' - NIAC Chair

Benefits of 5-11 year olds getting Covid vaccine 'far outweigh the risks' - NIAC Chair

The benefits of 5-11 year olds getting vaccinated against Covid-19 "far outweigh the risks". 

That's according to the Chair of the National Immunisation Advisory Council (NIAC), Professor Kartina Butler, who is encouraging parents to bring their children for Covid-19 vaccination. 

All 5-11 year old children will be eligible for the vaccine from tomorrow (January 8). 

Speaking today, she said, "As a paediatric doctor, I know that many parents and guardians will have genuine concerns and questions about Covid-19 vaccination for their children.

"However, when the available evidence relating to the risk Covid-19 can pose to some children, as well as the significant negative impact on the lives of all of them, particularly the educational and social lives of our children, are considered, the benefits of vaccination far outweigh the risks.

"I urge all parents and guardians to encourage their children to receive their Covid-19 vaccine as soon as it is available to them." 

The Chief Medical Officer, Dr Tony Holohan, and the Minister for Health, Stephen Donnelly, also made the call today. 

Minister Donnelly said, "Vaccination offers an extra level of protection for all of us. It is important to discuss the COVID-19 vaccine with your child.

"As a parent of children in this age group myself, I know that children have many questions about COVID-19 and about this vaccine, and it is important to ensure they can access the information material the HSE have made available." 

According to Dr Holohan, the decision is one which should be made between parents/guardians and their children. 

He said, "While we know that most children in in the 5 - 11 age group will experience a very mild form of this disease, for a small few, they may become severely ill. 

"Vaccines are doing an excellent job of preventing severe illness and disease in those who are fully vaccinated. This is good news. Getting your child vaccinated is a decision between you and your child.

"I encourage all parents and guardians to engage with the trusted health advice available on the HSE website, and with your own family clinician if you have any concerns about bringing your child for this vaccine." 

Currently, children aged 5-11 can avail of the vaccine if they have a health condition putting them at risk of severe illness, and/or if they live with someone at higher risk from Covid-19. 

Vaccines for the age group are being offered in hospitals and by appointment in vaccination centres. 

All children in the age group can avail of the vaccine tomorrow. 

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