COVID-19 vaccine booster dose

COVID-19 vaccines are strongly recommended to protect you from serious illness from COVID-19 (coronavirus). If you have not yet been vaccinated, find out how to get your COVID-19 vaccine.

If you have received a COVID-19 vaccine course, you should get a booster dose if you are:

  • 80 or older, or
  • 65 or older and living in a nursing home or long-term care facility

If you are aged 65 to 79, and do not live in long-term residential care, you do not need a booster dose at this time.

There is separate advice for people with a weak immune system.

How you will get a booster

If you are living in long-term residential care and you are aged 65 or over, you will be vaccinated where you live.

If you are aged 80 or over and not living in residential care, you'll be invited for your vaccine by your GP. Some GPs will refer patients to a vaccination centre.

Which vaccine you will be offered

Regardless of which COVID-19 vaccine course you had previously, you will be offered a single booster dose of either the:

In most cases, you should get this booster dose 6 months after finishing a course of COVID-19 vaccines. 

In some cases, you may get this booster dose at least 2 months after finishing a course of COVID-19 vaccines.

It is safe to get your COVID-19 vaccine at the same time as the flu vaccine or other vaccines you may need.

Why some people need a booster dose

COVID-19 infection can cause severe disease.

All COVID-19 vaccines licenced in Ireland are effective at protecting you against hospitalisation and severe illness from COVID-19. But infections in people who are fully vaccinated can happen, especially in older people.

This may be because when you are older your immune system does not respond as strongly to vaccination. Because of this, the protection from vaccination may weaken over time. 

Infections may also be more likely because of society opening up and the spread of the more infectious Delta variant of COVID-19. 

If you live in a nursing home or long-term care facility, you are more at risk of severe COVID-19 because it can spread very quickly in these settings. 

People living in these settings are also more likely to have medical conditions that put them at risk of severe COVID-19. It is hoped that by getting a booster dose of a COVID-19 vaccine you will be better protected against COVID-19 disease.

Booster dose safety

A COVID-19 vaccine booster dose has been:

There have not been any concerns about serious side effects in people who have received a booster dose so far.

If you have any concerns about getting a booster, talk to your GP or vaccinator.

Last updated: 6 October 2021 at 10am

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