The National Immunisation Advisory Committee has been asked to come forward with advice on vaccinating children against Covid-19.
Taoiseach Micheal Martin said Europe is preparing to rollout vaccines to children next year, but that vaccinating children with underlying conditions is “more immediate and urgent”.
He said any decision to vaccinate children would not be made by politicians, but by public health experts.
Europe is preparing for the vaccination overall of children for next year. But for children with underlying conditions, it's more immediate and urgent.Taoiseach Micheal Martin
He told reporters: “We’re asking the National Immunisation Advisory Committee (NIAC) to come forward with advice in respect of children, particularly children with underlying conditions.
“I do understand that it’s very worrying for the families and it’s something I hope that we can get advice back on quickly, to get moving on.”
He said that various clinical trials in relation to vaccinating children have already happened, noting that in the US, the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) have given approval in some respects.
Mr Martin said he has concerns over the risks posed to Covid-19 to children with underlying medical conditions.
“Europe is preparing for the vaccination overall of children for next year. But for children with underlying conditions, it’s more immediate and urgent” he said.
He said Government would take advice on the subject, and follow the safest path.
“We have to take advice. Politicians on their own will not make decisions in this country in relation to vaccinations” he said.
“From a safety point of view, and a clinical safety point of view, we will take advice from the National Immunisation Advisory Committee and from the chief medical officer in that regard, that’s the safest thing to do.
“I think people need to bear that in mind, in the context of pandemic.
Obviously, the concern is there for children with underlying conditions.
“I’m concerned about it, so we want to get we want to get this clarified and resolved as quickly as we can for the parents and the families involved.”
The Taoiseach was speaking from the Kirby Group Engineering headquarters in Limerick on Friday, where the company announced plans to create 300 new jobs as part of an expansion in Ireland and across Europe.
He said: “I think its an outstanding success story, a great company that grew from humble beginnings, with a strong international reach, with really top class clients in respective data centres, life sciences, renewables.
“What I was particularly impressed with this morning was its investment in young people, in apprentices and in graduate programs.
It’s a very strong investment in human capital, which will guarantee this company’s growth and success.
“To be here to announce an additional 300 jobs at this company, I think, illustrates the potential of the Irish economy to really grow post pandemic.”