Waiving the 15-minute observation period only applies for those getting a booster, says the head of the National Immunisation Advisory Committee.
The waiting time after receiving a jab still applies for people who are getting their primary vaccine doses.
💉 NIAC’s letter to CMO on waiving observation time.
It only applies to boosters, so those getting primary doses will still have to wait. And doesn’t apply for those with a history of anaphylaxis. pic.twitter.com/uYy778zCqI
— Ben Finnegan (@_BenFinnegan) December 16, 2021
NIAC says the risk of serious allergic reaction to an mRNA vaccine is very rare, and removing the observation period allows more people to be vaccinated.
In the letter to the Chief Medical Officer, chair of the National Immunisation Advisory Committee Karina Butler said:
"NIAC recommends that the 15 minute observation period following administration of a homologous or heterologous booster COVID-19 mRNA vaccine can be temporarily waived.
"The reasons for this recommendation are:
- As the Omicron variant is spreading rapidly there is an urgent need to give people booster vaccinations as soon as possible. Booster doses of an mRNA vaccine have been shown to significantly increase vaccine effectiveness against Omicron.
- The risk of a serious allergic reaction after mRNA vaccination is very rare (1-10 per million).
- Removing the 15 minute post observation requirement will enable more people to be vaccinated.
- This recommendation does not apply to those:
- receiving a primary COVID-19 vaccine course, who should be observed for 15 minutes.
- with a history of anaphylaxis from any cause receiving a booster vaccine, who should be observed for at least 30 minutes.
- Vaccine recipients should be advised to seek urgent medical attention if they have symptoms suggestive of an allergic reaction such as difficulty breathing, feeling faint, rapid heartbeat or a skin rash.
These recommendations were accepted by the Health Minister in full.