The health minister has announced that an online registration system for vaccinations for those aged 65-69 will open today.
Stephen Donnelly announced on Twitter yesterday that this is “an important step forward” in the vaccination programme.
Registration will start with those aged 69, the next day will open to those aged 68 and so on, the minister describes. People will be able to register for their vaccine from this morning using their PPS number and Eircode, and can expect to be called for vaccinations from next week.
Registration will go live at 10am on the HSE's website and the vaccine that will be administered to those who register will be AstraZeneca, as it has been deemed safe to use for this age category.
“To avoid delays when we open registrations, we are asking people to register by age on specific days initially,” the HSE said.
The HSE said that there is no hurry, and that “registering first does not mean a person will get vaccinated first.”
“Registration days are being staggered in this way to ensure we can provide good support to people using the system or calling our phone service.”
The minister for health made the announcement ahead of yesterday’s Cabinet briefing on the country’s vaccination programme following a meeting between the Taoiseach, the HSE, and the task force in charge of its roll-out.
Micheál Martin will be meeting Brian MacCraith, chair of the national vaccine taskforce to discuss issues with the Johnson and Johnson and AstraZeneca vaccines.
Meanwhile, Johnson and Johnson has delayed the delivery of its one-dose injection to Europe after reports of rare blood clot cases in the United States.
Much of the 14,000 first batch of the J&J jab was due to arrive this week and set to be used in groups such as homeless people, members of the Travelling community, the Roma community, and those engaged with drug services. Approximately 600,000 doses are due to be delivered to Ireland before the end of June.
The pause in the J&J rollout comes just one day after the AstraZeneca vaccine was suspended for the under-60 age group over similar concerns. Anybody who is due to attend an AstraZeneca clinic, and who is not contacted directly in advance, is advised not to attend.
Tánaiste Leo Varadkar confirmed that despite hitting major bumps in the vaccination rollout, Ireland “very much on track” to meet the Government’s targets of between 3.5m and 4.5m vaccines being administered in the second quarter of this year.
Leo Varadkar said he wanted to “reassure” the public that there are “lots of things to be positive about" despite concerns arising from the pausing of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine and restrictions to the rollout of the AstraZeneca vaccine.
“Of course there’s going to be twists and turns. That was always going to be the case but just wanted to reassure you about those things," he said.
On May 4, the country can still expect hairdressers and other personal services, religious services, as well as museums, galleries, and libraries to reopen under the Government's reopening plan.