People aged 60 and over are being invited to come forward for their next Covid-19 booster vaccine.

From today, those in that age group and pregnant women can make an appointment for a booster dose through the Health Service Executive.

Those appointments will begin next Monday, 15 August.

HSE Chief Clinical Officer Dr Colm Henry urged those eligible to take up the offer, saying it would provide "ongoing protection from serious illness, and increase your immunity against infection from Covid-19, which we know tends to reduce after a period of months following your last vaccine".

There is a waning of immunity against infection from Covid-19 over time, he told RTÉ’s Morning Ireland.

Dr Henry added that t there are newer vaccines on the horizon.

"They're being assessed by the European Medicines Agency, who will assess all available evidence before informing us and other member states whether or not they are safe and effective to be rolled out," Dr Henry said.

"But for the time being, we're using the existing vaccine stock, which we know to have efficacy against even the most recent variant."

Dr Henry added that there has been a falloff in uptake in booster vaccines.

HSE Chief Clinical Officer Dr Colm Henry (File photo: RollingNews.ie)

He said the uptake with the most recent campaign for the second booster is "a bit more disappointing, approaching 60% for those aged 65 and above".

He said that perhaps this is understandable as the fear passes and people sense the pandemic is no longer a threat, but he urged people to get the booster ahead of the winter.

"It's about the autumn and winter and getting protection against infection in the coming months, particularly when we may see seasonal influenza and we're seeing respiratory viruses cocirculate with Covid-19."

People aged 50-64, and people with long-term health conditions, will also be offered booster vaccines in the coming weeks.

HSE National Lead for the Covid-19 Vaccine Programme Eileen Whelan said: "Over the next few weeks, boosters will be offered to people aged 50-64, and people with long-term health conditions.

"We are inviting people initially in blocks of five years, starting with people aged 60-64, to ensure people have a smooth experience booking appointments online and getting their vaccine."

People who are more than 16 weeks' pregnant will also invited to book their next booster at a HSE vaccination centre or from participating GPs.

Meanwhile, the HSE said it would also soon be inviting, through their parents, children aged 5-12 who are immunocompromised and are now due to have a second booster.