Vaccines for COVID-19
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 aim to prevent you getting COVID-19. They make your body better prepared to defend itself against the virus.
A COVID-19 vaccine has been approved for use in Ireland. You can get more information on the vaccine from the Health Service Executive (HSE).
When you are given a vaccine, this is called vaccination. The HSE has general information on vaccines and vaccination in Ireland.
Who can get the vaccine?
The vaccination programme has started but it is not possible for everyone to get the vaccine at the same time. The vaccine will be made available to different groups of people at different times, depending on priority.
The first groups to get the COVID-19 vaccine are:
- People aged 65 years and older who live in long-term care facilities – they have a greater risk of serious illness if they get COVID-19
- Frontline healthcare workers – they have a higher risk of being exposed to COVID-19
If you live in a long-term care facility, you will be offered the vaccine there. If you are a healthcare worker, you will be offered the vaccine where you work or nearby.
The COVID-19 Vaccine Allocation Strategy sets out the priority groups for vaccination. The list may change as more information becomes available.
When can I get the COVID-19 vaccine?
People who are most at risk from COVID-19 will get the vaccine first. You will be informed when you are eligible to get the vaccine.
How can I get the vaccine?
At the start, when the supply of vaccines is most limited, the vaccine will be available to the highest priority groups and will be administered in hospitals and nursing homes.
When vaccines are more available, the next groups in the priority list can get the vaccine at larger centres which will be set up around the country. These centres will be called Mass Vaccination Centres.
Later, when vaccines are more generally available, GPs and pharmacies may also give vaccinations.
You do not need to apply or to register to get the vaccine. The HSE will let you know when you can get the vaccine.
COVID-19 vaccines are free of charge.
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.
The National COVID-19 Vaccination Strategy (pdf) explains what needs to be done to make vaccines available and how decisions about the plan are made.
The Implementation Plan for the National COVID-19 Vaccination Programme (pdf) explains how the vaccination programme will work. It will be updated regularly as more information becomes available.