Booster dose of the COVID-19 vaccine

There are 2 types of booster vaccines being offered now for COVID-19:

  • first booster - people aged 12 and older can get this if they have not already
  • second booster - people aged 65 and older and people with a weak immune system should get this

Next booster doses are now being recommended for more groups of people.

We will update this page soon with information on when and how you can get your vaccine.

Second booster dose

You should get a second booster now if you are:

Second booster doses will be open to new groups soon.

How long to wait before getting a second booster

You can get your second booster at least 4 months (at least 120 days) after your first booster.

If you have had COVID-19 since your first booster, wait at least 4 months after you tested positive or from when your symptoms started.

65 or older - vaccine doses

If you are 65 or older, your second booster should be your fourth vaccine dose.

COVID-19 vaccines you should have

For someone aged 65 or older, your recommended COVID-19 vaccination is:

  • 2 doses as your first round of COVID-19 vaccination
  • a booster dose at least 3 months later
  • a second booster at least 4 months after your first booster

How to get your second booster dose

You can choose to:

You may also be able to get your second booster from your GP.

Which vaccine you will be offered

Why you may need a second booster

You may be more at risk of serious illness from COVID-19 if you have a weak immune system or are aged 65 or older.

This is because:

  • the protection from previous doses may weaken with time
  • you may be at greater risk of severe illness
  • your immune system may not respond as strongly to vaccination

Data from other countries shows that a second booster will give you extra protection from COVID-19. A second booster can prevent the possibility of hospitalisation or death from COVID-19 illness.

If you have a weak immune system

Your GP or hospital consultant may recommend a second booster if you have a weak immune system.

See a list of conditions and treatments that put you at high risk of COVID-19 illness

How to get your first booster

There are 3 ways to get your first booster dose:

You may also be able to get your booster from your GP.

12 to 15 year olds must attend their booster appointment with a parent or guardian. A parent or guardian will need to give consent for their child’s vaccination.

How long to wait before getting your first booster

After your first round of COVID-19 vaccination, you need to wait:

  • 3 months (at least 90 days) if you are 16 or older
  • 6 months (at least 179 days) if you are aged 12 to 15

If you are getting Novavax for a booster dose, you should get this at least 5 months after your last COVID-19 vaccine.

What does ‘first round of COVID-19 vaccination’ mean?

When we say ‘first round of COVID-19 vaccination’ we mean your dose 1 and dose 2 if you got AstraZeneca, Moderna or Pfizer. Or your single dose if you got the Janssen vaccine.

If you have a weak immune system, you should have been offered an ‘additional dose’ to give you better protection. This is because your immune system may not respond as well to vaccination. You will still need your booster dose after this additional dose.

If you had COVID-19

If you had COVID-19 after your first round of vaccination, you should get your first booster dose at least:

  • 3 months after symptoms started or from your positive test result if you are 16 or older
  • 6 months after symptoms started or from your positive test result if you are aged 12 to 15

Booster immunity

It may take 7 days for a COVID-19 vaccine booster dose to work.

We do not know yet how long booster immunity will last. Clinical studies are ongoing to find this out.

Your booster appointment

Bring photo ID that shows your date of birth.

Important

Do not go to your booster appointment if you have COVID-19 or symptoms of COVID-19

If you were vaccinated in a different country

If you were vaccinated abroad, you can get your booster here if you are due one.

Phone 1800 700 700 to arrange your appointment. You will need your vaccination details including vaccine type, date given and expiry date.

You may have to wait for 3 months or longer after your first round of vaccination, depending on your age and if you have had COVID-19.

If you are unable to leave your home

If you got your COVID-19 vaccine at home last time, we will contact you to organise your vaccine at home again.

If you were not vaccinated at home before and can't leave your home now, your GP can refer you for home vaccination.

If you do not have a GP, phone 1800 700 700.

Which vaccine you will be offered

If you are 30 or older, you will be offered a single booster dose of either the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine, or the Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine. These are both mRNA vaccines. The vaccine you will be offered will depend on supply.

If you are 29 or younger, you will be offered the Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine as your booster dose.

You may get a non-mRNA COVID-19 vaccine, like Novavax, if an mRNA vaccine is not suitable or you choose not to have an mRNA vaccine.

Read more about COVID-19 vaccine types

Booster dose safety

We have less information on the safety of the second COVID-19 booster. The UK, Israel, Denmark and some other countries are giving a second booster to certain people. Studies show that there have not been any unexpected safety concerns so far for people who have had their first and second booster.

Myocarditis and pericarditis are inflammatory heart conditions and are very rare risks of mRNA vaccines. These rare side effects are more common in men under the age of 30 years after their second primary vaccine dose. The risk of these side effects appears to be lower after the first booster.

Read more about COVID-19 vaccine side effects

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

After your COVID-19 booster dose

You only need to wait in the clinic after your booster dose if you have had a severe allergic reaction (anaphylaxis) in the past. If you have, you'll have to wait 30 minutes.

Get medical care immediately if you:

  • have difficulty breathing
  • feel dizzy
  • have a fast heartbeat or a skin rash

These could be a sign of an allergic reaction. But severe allergic reactions are rare.

EU digital COVID cert

These certs are issued by the Government, not by the HSE.

You can request:

  • a certificate if you have received your primary COVID-19 vaccination, or
  • an updated certificate if you have had a booster dose

Request a digital COVID-19 cert on gov.ie

Last updated: 27 July 2022 at 6pm