People aged 59 will be able to register online for a Covid-19 vaccine from Tuesday.
It is expected the HSE online portal will then open to others aged 50-59 over subsequent days this week, as Ministers consider plans to speed up the rollout of vaccines to the under-50s.
HSE chief executive Paul Reid said clarity would be provided to other age groups on when they can expect a vaccine in due course.
“I think in reality we need to finalise this plan this week, because that takes on the Niac recommendations. That will then set out, with greater clarity, how we progress through each of the age groups,” he told Newstalk radio.
“This week we will open the online portal registration system for those age 59, from tomorrow, and then we’ll continue down through those ages into the 40s and 30s, but first of all we need to revise the current plan.
“Then we can give stronger indications to different age groups at different points in time.”
Great momentum on vaccinations. Almost 200K done last week (>200K when some data is uploaded). >44K done on Friday. >1.6M done in total. Over 788,000 done through April. Our revised plan will aim to continue momentum & work down through the ages with available supplies @HSELive
— Paul Reid (@paulreiddublin) May 3, 2021
Mr Reid tweeted on Monday that there was “great momentum on vaccinations”, with almost 200,000 vaccinations carried out last week while “over 788,000 [were] done through April”.
However, The Irish Times reports that HSE sources acknowledged that the 788,000 figure includes vaccination numbers from a few days at the end of March and the beginning of May, as these days were counted as “April weeks”.
In the calendar month of April, HSE figures show that just 707,000 doses of the vaccine were administered. That is considerably short of the 860,000 target planned last month.
This is expected to be the busiest week yet for the programme, with 220,000-240,000 vaccinations scheduled.
However, changes to restrictions on the use of the AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson vaccines, alongside fluctuating delivery schedules, have presented Ministers with a choice of accelerating the programme for under-50s or potentially having hundreds of thousands of unused doses by mid-summer.
Mr Reid on Sunday warned that if people in their 50s were still waiting for vaccines while those in their 30s were receiving them, it would not be good from a public health perspective.
The Irish Times reports that HSE officials are working on a revised vaccination schedule and a memo on the programme is expected to be discussed at Tuesday’s Cabinet meeting.
A key issue will be maintaining momentum to reach the target of more than 80 per cent of adults receiving or being offered a first dose by the end of June.
'Get back out there'
Meanwhile, the chief medical officer has urged those who have been vaccinated to “get back out there” once restrictions begin to ease from May 10th.
Dr Tony Holohan said the Covid-19 vaccines have given people most at risk of the virus an opportunity to regain many freedoms that were taken in the last year.
In an open letter to those who have been vaccinated, Dr Holohan said people can have faith that the vaccines work.
Dr Holohan said that the pandemic has dealt every person in Ireland an “unfair hand”, in many different and diverse ways.