Vaccines for COVID-19

Introduction

COVID-19 is a serious illness that can affect your lungs and airways. It is caused by a virus called coronavirus. You can find out more about the symptoms of COVID-19 and how to protect yourself from the virus.

COVID-19 vaccines are medicines that give you protection from COVID-19. They help your body to defend itself against the virus.

Every resident in Ireland is eligible to get a COVID-19 vaccine.

A number of COVID-19 vaccines have been approved for use in Ireland. You can get more information on the vaccines from the Health Service Executive (HSE).

Who can get a COVID-19 vaccine?

Everyone aged 12 and over can now get a COVID-19 vaccine.

Parents are recommended to get a vaccine for their children aged 12-15. They will only be offered the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine. Read advice to help you decide if you should vaccinate your child. This is a personal decision.

Children aged 12-15 cannot register themselves or get the vaccine without the consent of one parent or guardian. However, if a vaccinator, including your GP or pharmacist, is notified that one parent or guardian does not consent to the child being vaccinated, the vaccine should not be given.

How to get a COVID-19 vaccine

To get a vaccine appointment you can:

The COVID-19 vaccination is free of charge. You cannot get it privately.

Vaccination centre

Many people are offered their COVID-19 vaccination in a vaccination centre when they register for their vaccine online or by phoning the COVID-19 helpline on 1850 24 1850. You will be offered either the Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna vaccine at a vaccination centre. There is at least one vaccination centre in every county. You can access a list of locations for the vaccination centres.

If you get your first vaccine dose in a walk-in clinic, you may be offered an appointment for your second dose in a vaccination centre, (see ‘Walk-in vaccination clinics below’).

Pharmacy

Anyone aged 12 and over can get a COVID-19 vaccine in a participating pharmacy. You can find a list of participating pharmacies on the HSE website.

Walk-in vaccination clinics

Walk-in clinics are open for people aged 12 and older. Children aged 12 to 15 must attend with their parent or guardian.

You can get your first or second dose of a Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna vaccine at a walk-in vaccination clinic without an appointment. Dose 1 and dose 2 clincs are open on specific days and times.

Dose 2 walk-in clinic

You can go to any dose 2 walk-in clinic as long as 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.

If your first vaccine dose was a Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna vaccine, you must get the same vaccine for your second dose. For example, if you had your first dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, you should go to a dose 2 Pfizer-BioNTech walk-in clinic.

If your first vaccine dose was an AstraZeneca vaccine, you can choose to get a Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna vaccine as your second dose in a walk-in vaccination clinic. This will mean that you are fully vaccinated.

Going to a walk-in clinic

You can attend a walk-in clinic even if you have not registered online. Staff will register your information when you arrive. You will need to bring your:

  • Photo ID that shows your date of birth (for example, a passport, driving licence or Garda Age Card)
  • PPS number (if you have one)
  • Mobile number
  • Email address
  • Eircode
  • Proof of your first dose (if attending for dose 2 vaccination)

If you do not have a PPS number, you can still get vaccinated. You will need to bring proof of address.

If you have already registered online and are waiting on an appointment for your first dose in a vaccination centre, you can go to a walk-in clinic instead.

After you get your first dose in a walk-in clinic, you will get a text message (SMS) with appointment details for your second dose. You can get your second dose at a vaccination centre nearer your home. Or you can go to a dose 2 walk-in clinic when they are open.

How to register for a COVID-19 vaccine

To register online for an appointment in a vaccination centre, you will need:

  • Your PPS number
  • Your Eircode
  • A mobile phone number
  • An email address

If you do not have any of these or you are unable to register online, you can register by phoning the COVID-19 helpline on 1850 24 1850.

Enter your name as it appears on your passport so your EU Digital COVID Certificate matches your travel documents.

Parents or guardians of 12 to 15 year olds can register for their children online or by phone. 12 to 15 year olds cannot register themselves. If you are registering more than one child, you can bring them to the same appointment time, even if their appointments are on different days.

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

If you are deaf or hard-of-hearing, you can text HSELive on 086 1800 661 to register for your vaccination.

The HSE have a guide for online registration and a video explaining how to register online.

You cannot register online if you are based outside of Ireland or the UK. You need to call the COVID-19 helpline on +353 1 240 8787 to register.

You will get your appointment details by text message 3 to 7 days before your appointment.

What if I cancel or miss a vaccine appointment?

If you cannot attend your vaccine appointment, you can reschedule it by replying to your appointment text with the word ‘New’. You will get another text with details of your rescheduled appointment. You won’t be able to choose the day or time of your appointment. You can only reschedule your appointment twice.

If you miss an appointment, you will automatically be scheduled for a new one. If you miss 3 appointments, you will not be scheduled for anymore appointments. You will then need to call HSELive on Freephone 1800 700 700 to ask for a new appointment.

When am I fully vaccinated?

You are fully vaccinated when you get a vaccine approved by the European Medicines Agency (EMA) and it is:

If you are fully vaccinated, you can get an EU Digital COVID Certificate (DCC).

After I am fully vaccinated

There is different public health advice for people who are fully vaccinated.

Fully vaccinated people can meet together in private homes indoors with no limit on numbers. You do not need to wear a face covering or social distance when meeting indoors.

If you had a positive PCR test in the past 9 months, you can follow the same public health advice as fully vaccinated people. This does not apply if you are:

  • Over 65 years of age
  • Immunocompromised because of disease or treatment

Read about what you should do if you are a close contact and you are fully vaccinated.

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 and arrange a test.

Priority groups

People who are most at risk from COVID-19 were vaccinated first.

The at-risk groups vaccinated against COVID-19 are:

  • People aged 65 years and over who live in long-term care facilities
  • Frontline healthcare workers
  • People aged 70 and over
  • People aged 16 to 69 who are at very high risk
  • People aged 16 to 69 who are at high risk
  • Socially vulnerable adults

Some people in the above groups are still due to get their second dose of vaccine.

If you cannot leave your home for medical reasons, your GP can arrange a home vaccination. If you do not have a GP, call the COVID-19 helpline for advice.

If you are pregnant, your maternity hospital will contact you about your COVID-19 vaccine. You can also talk to your obstetrician, midwife or GP about registering for a vaccine appointment.

The COVID-19 Vaccine Allocation Strategy sets out the priority groups for vaccination.

Further information

Read more information about the COVID-19 vaccine on the HSE website.

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.

Before vaccines can be made available, they must be approved as being safe to use. The European Medicines Agency (EMA) is responsible for approving the use of COVID-19 vaccines in the European Union (EU). The EMA website shows the vaccines that have been submitted for approval and what stage of the process they are at. You can view the latest news updates from the EMA and key facts on COVID-19 vaccines.

You can keep up-to-date with the total numbers of COVID-19 vaccines given in Ireland on geohive.ie.

When you are given a vaccine, this is called vaccination. The HSE has general information on vaccines and vaccination in Ireland.

Page edited: 9 September 2021