Vaccines for COVID-19
COVID-19 vaccines are medicines that should give you protection from serious illness with COVID-19. They help your body to defend itself against the virus.
When you are given a vaccine, this is called vaccination. The HSE has general information on vaccines and vaccination in Ireland.
The COVID-19 vaccine is free of charge. You cannot get it privately.
A number of COVID-19 vaccines have been approved for use in Ireland. You can get more information on the safety and side-effects of vaccines from the Health Service Executive (HSE).
Many of the vaccines are given in 2 separate doses, a few weeks apart. This is called the first round of vaccination. A booster dose is also available. You can get this after your first round of vaccinations are complete.
Some people can now get a third booster , see ‘When to get COVID-19 boosters’ below.
How to get a COVID-19 vaccine
Everyone aged 5 and over can get a COVID-19 vaccine.
If you recently had COVID-19, you should wait at least 4 weeks from the date of your positive COVID-19 test before getting either dose 1 or dose 2.
To get a COVID-19 vaccine you can:
- Book an appointment at a vaccination centre
- Book an appointment with a participating pharmacy (for children aged 12 and over)
- Go to a walk-in vaccination centre
- Register online (only for your first dose – called dose 1)
- Register by phone 1800 700 700
When to get your second dose of the COVID-19 vaccine
You can get your second dose of the COVID-19 vaccine – called dose 2 – if your vaccination is due and you have proof of your first dose, for example, your vaccination record card. It does not matter where you had your first dose, even if you were vaccinated in another country.
You may be offered a different vaccine for your second dose. You can read about getting your first and second dose and which COVID-19 vaccines are approved in Ireland.
How to get a booster vaccine
You can get your first booster now if you are aged 12 or over or if you are aged 5 to 11 and have a weak immune system.
You can get a second booster now if you are:
- Aged 50 or over
- Pregnant (from 16 weeks)
- A healthcare worker - bring your work ID or a letter as proof of employment
If you are aged 12 and over you can get a second booster if you:
- Have a condition that puts you at high risk of serious illness from COVID-19
- Are living in a long-term care facility - the booster will be given in that facility
You can get a third booster now if you are:
- Aged 65 or over
- Aged 12 or over with a weak immune system (immunocompromised or immunosuppressed)
To get a booster, you can:
- Go to a walk-in booster clinic
- Book an appointment at a participating pharmacy
- Book an appointment at a clinic for your age group
- Call HSELive for an appointment on 1800 700 700
- Some GPs are also vaccinating their patients
You can get your COVID-19 booster and flu vaccine at the same time.
If your child is aged 5 to 11 and has a weak immune system, you will be contacted with an appointment for your child. You do not need to do anything.
If you were vaccinated in another country, you can phone HSELive on 1800 700 700 to get a booster appointment.
If you are aged 70 or over and not living in residential care, you will be invited to get your vaccine by your GP. Some GPs refer patients to a vaccination centre.
When to get COVID-19 boosters
You need to wait at least 4 months after your last COVID-19 vaccine or booster before getting another one.
You can check the date of your last vaccination on your digital COVID certificate.
If you had COVID-19 after your first round of vaccination or since your last booster, you need to wait at least 4 months from when you tested positive or from when your symptoms first started before getting your next booster.
Weak immune system (immunocompromised)
If you have a weak immune system (immunosuppressed or immunocompromised), you may be offered an additional vaccine dose. You can read more about the additional COVID-19 vaccine dose and when you need to get it.
If you are aged 5 or over with a weak immune system, you can get your first booster dose after your additional dose.
You can read about the recommended vaccine doses for people with a weak immune system
Getting your vaccine at home
If you cannot leave your home for medical reasons, your GP can arrange a home vaccination or booster dose. If you do not have a GP, call the COVID-19 helpline on freephone 1800 700 700 for advice. If you got your COVID-19 vaccine at home last time, the HSE will contact you to get your next vaccine or booster at home again.
COVID-19 vaccine and booster for children
If you have more than one child getting a vaccine or booster dose, book an appointment for each child.
Children must attend their appointment with an adult. If possible, the child’s parent or legal guardian should be there to give consent.
If a vaccinator is told that one parent or guardian does not consent to the child getting a vaccine or booster dose, the vaccine or booster dose should not be given.
If your child has additional needs, you can call HSELive on Freephone 1800 700 700 to arrange:
- More time at their appointment
- A quieter appointment time with fewer people
Pregnancy and COVID-19 vaccine
You can get a COVID-19 vaccine and booster during pregnancy, if you are trying for a baby and while you are breastfeeding.
If you are at least 16 weeks pregnant and have not already had a booster vaccine in your current pregnancy, you can get a second booster.
Going to a walk-in vaccination or booster clinic
You can attend a walk-in clinic if they are open for your age group. Check what you need to bring to the vaccination clinic.
If you do not have a PPS number, you can still get vaccinated. You will need to bring proof of your address.
If you have already registered online and are waiting on an appointment for your first vaccine dose in a vaccination centre, you can go to a walk-in clinic instead.
If you get your first vaccine dose in a walk-in clinic, you will get a text message with appointment details for your second dose at a vaccination centre nearer your home. You can also book an appointment online for your second dose at a vaccination clinic or attend any walk-in clinic when they are open.
What if I cancel or miss a vaccine appointment?
If you cannot attend your vaccine appointment, reply to your appointment text with the word ‘New’. You will get another text with your new appointment. You can only reschedule your appointment twice.
If you miss an appointment, you will automatically be given a new one. If you miss 3 appointments, you do not automatically get any more appointments. You need to call HSELive on Freephone 1800 700 700 to ask for a new appointment.
If you got a booster appointment and want to cancel it to go to a walk-in clinic or pharmacy, reply to the text with the word 'REJECT.'
After getting a COVID-19 vaccination or booster
After you get a COVID-19 vaccination or booster, you can get an updated EU Digital COVID Certificate (DCC).
After you are vaccinated, you should continue to follow public health advice on how to stop the spread of COVID-19 in public places. For example, social distancing, wearing a face covering and washing your hands properly.
If you have symptoms of COVID-19 you should self-isolate.
If you were vaccinated outside Ireland
You are considered fully vaccinated if you have been vaccinated with a COVID-19 vaccine recommended by the World Health Organisation (WHO) or approved by the:
If you got your first vaccine dose in another country, you can get your second dose in Ireland. You need to show evidence of your first vaccine dose in another country. If your vaccine is not approved by the FDA or MHRA, or recommended by the WHO, you will be offered a full course of a European Medicines Agency (EMA) approved vaccine in Ireland.
If you are a deaf Irish Sign Language user and you need an interpreter to talk to a HSE COVID-19 helpline agent, you can use the Irish Remote Interpreting Service (IRIS). Irish Sign Language (ISL) videos explaining the COVID-19 vaccine are available on the HSE website.
You can read information and watch videos in different languages on COVID-19 and the different vaccines on the HSE website.