Visitors to nursing homes will only be ‘fully vaccinated’ if they have a booster vaccination, new guidance has stated.

The guidelines were issued by the Health Protection Surveillance Centre (HPSC) in response to the new Omicron COVID variant.

Visitors have been required to show proof of COVID vaccination in Ireland since November.

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The HSPC advised care homes to vaccinate people who have had the virus in the previous nine months as soon as possible.

It also said visitors and residents should wear masks when congregating during outdoor visits.

Tadhg Daly, chief executive of Nursing Homes Ireland, told The Irish Times: “If there are very high levels of virus in the community, then that will have an impact on nursing homes.”

Clinical director Eveline Sheeran said Brookhaven nursing home group’s Talbot Lodge in Malahide, Co Dublin, was still offering indoor visits along with remote video and window visits over the festive period.

“It is not going to be the Christmas that we were expecting,” Eveline said.

“An awful lot of people felt that once we were vaccinated, there was going to be a little bit more freedom and unfortunately, there has been a little but not an awful lot.”

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