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Leo Varadkar gives update on vaccines for children aged 12-17

HSE boss Paul Reid tweeted this morning that over 5.34 million vaccines have now been administered

The vaccine portal for children aged 16-17 is set to reopen “quite soon,” Tanaiste Leo Varadkar has said.

But the Fine Gael leader said the situation is “more complicated” for vaccinating children aged between 12-15..

It comes as the HSE online portal opened for all adults aged over 18 earlier this week to register for a Pfizer or Moderna vaccine.

The Government is hoping to have all adults who want a vaccine to be fully vaccinated by the end of August.

They will then, in line with public health advice, seek to vaccinate teenagers.

Tanaiste Leo Varadkar has said “the fear” at the moment is that potentially a new variant could emerge that is able to evade the current vaccines.

He said there is an “issue around parental consent” with vaccinating children aged 16-17 years but he believes this will be worked out soon.

Mr Varadkar said: “There’s no reason why we can’t have every adult over the age of 18 vaccinated by the end of August..

“We’re going to open the [portal] for 16-17 year olds quite soon, there’s an issue around parental consent but we should be able to work around that.”

However, kids between 12 and 15 face a further wait.

But Mr Varadkar said the State’s vaccine advisory body, NIAC, is “going to develop recommendations in and around that.”

He said “thankfully” when teenagers and children get infected with Covid-19, it is a “mild illness” and noted that very few children get seriously ill.

HSE boss Paul Reid tweeted this morning that over 5.34 million vaccines have now been administered.

He said 66% of adults are now fully vaccinated and 80% have received their first dose.

He also warned that the Delta variant poses a “huge risk” to the progress made with vaccination but it’s “one we can meet head on.”

He added: “Let’s aim to support our healthcare workers having a management August, one that they all deserve.”

13:04, 22 JUL 2021