Covid vaccine registration for over-50s opens next week, Taoiseach says

More than 220,000 people aged 60 to 69 have not registered for the Covid-19 vaccine
Covid vaccine registration for over-50s opens next week, Taoiseach says

The online portal for vaccine registration will open next week for people aged over 50, Taoiseach Micheál Martin has confirmed.

Speaking on Thursday night, Mr Martin said the number of vaccines administered has passed the 1.5 million mark.

The online registration process for those aged 60 to 64 opened last week, and those aged 65 to 69 started to receive their first doses this month.

However, more than 220,000 people in that age group have not yet registered for the jab, prompting concerns about vaccine hesitancy.

The HSE is this week redrawing the vaccine rollout plan following changes in advice from the National Immunisation Advisory Committee (Niac).

HSE chief executive Paul Reid confirmed the rollout will continue on the basis of age.

Speaking to Newstalk on Friday morning, he said: “We’re making good progress in getting through the 60 to 69s – there are now over 305,000 people registered on the portal. We made a recommendation to continue on now and open up to 50 to 59s. They will commence over the next two to three weeks.”

People can expect to hear about an appointment around two weeks after they register. It remains unclear which vaccines the over-50s will receive.

Currently, people in the 60 to 69 age cohort are being offered the AstraZeneca vaccine, which has a 12-week interval between the first and second dose.

Those aged over 70 will receive their second dose of the Pfizer vaccine in the coming weeks.

Mr Reid said supply was expected to pick up in May and June, and the authorities were now working with all suppliers to get more certainty on deliveries for the coming months.

The HSE expected to administer 220,000-240,000 doses next week, he said. There were 30 mass vaccination centres now open, with six more opening next week.

Mr Reid said the HSE shared the “cautious optimism” expressed by the Government about easing restrictions. There was a need for caution as large groups of the population still were not vaccinated.

However, he said there had been big benefits for those groups already vaccinated.

Reopening plan

On Thursday night, Mr Martin outlined a detailed plan to reopen the country over the coming weeks and months.

Ireland is in a “better place” with a “degree of normality” returning as vaccines roll out and restrictions ease, Mr Martin said in an address to the nation.

The easing of restrictions will proceed in two main phases over the course of May and June, with higher-risk activities such as indoor hospitality to be considered at the end of June.

The plan includes the lifting of the ban on intercounty travel, greater freedoms for vaccinated people, a relaxation of restrictions on outdoor gatherings, and the reopening of personal services and outdoor hospitality.

A significant number of restrictions will ease on May 10th, when intercounty travel is permitted to resume.

Restrictions on gatherings will be loosened, as three households or six people will be able to meet outdoors, including in private gardens. Organised outdoor gatherings can also take place with a maximum of 15 people.

There will be a vaccine bonus for the fully vaccinated, who can meet indoors without masks or social distancing with up to three other fully vaccinated households, or with low-risk unvaccinated people from a single household.

Non-essential retail will reopen on a phased basis in May, with the return of click-and-collect services on May 10th and the reopening of the remainder of the sector on May 17th. Personal services such as hairdressers will also reopen from May 10th, and in-person religious services can also resume. – Additional reporting: Vivienne Clarke

More in this section

Sponsored Content

Add Echolive.ie to your home screen - easy access to Cork news, views, sport and more