Vaccines for COVID-19

Introduction

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 vaccines from the Health Service Executive (HSE).

Many of the vaccines are given in two 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 groups can now get a second booster dose, 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:

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 dose

You can get your first booster dose now if you are aged 12 or over.

To get your first booster dose, you can:

Some GPs are also vaccinating their patients.

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'll be invited for your vaccine by your GP. Some GPs will refer patients to a vaccination centre.

Second Booster

If you are over 65 you can:

If you are aged 12 to 65 with a weak immune system (immunocompromised or immunosuppressed) your GP or doctor may recommend a second booster.

When to get COVID-19 boosters

After your first round of COVID-19 vaccination, you need to wait at least:

  • 3 months if you are 16 or over
  • 6 months if you are aged 12-15
  • 5 months if you are getting Novavax for a booster dose

You can check the date of your first round of vaccination on your digital COVID cert.

If you had COVID-19 after your first round of vaccination, you need to wait at least:

  • 3 months if you are 16 or over
  • 6 months if you are aged 12 to 15

The 3 or 6 months start from when you tested positive or from when your symptoms first started.

When to get your second booster dose

You can get your second booster it has been at least 4 months since your first booster. You can check the date of your first booster on your digital COVID cert.

If you have had COVID-19, you must wait at least 4 months since you tested positive, or your symptoms started or your symptoms started before you get your second booster.

You can fill in an online form to postpone your appointment.

Weak Immune System

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 COVID19 vaccine dose and when you need to get it.

If you are over 12 with a weak immune system, you should get your first booster dose after your additional dose. You may also be recommended a second booster dose by your GP or hospital consultant if you have 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 your child is aged 5 or over, they can get a COVID-19 vaccine. See’ How to get a COVID-19 vaccination’ above.

If your child is aged 12 or over, they can get a booster vaccine dose. See ‘How to get a booster vaccine dose’ above.

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. Read information from the HSE to help you decide about vaccination for your child.

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

If you are pregnant, you can get a COVID-19 vaccine and 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 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.

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.

The European Medicines Agency (EMA) website shows the vaccines that have been submitted for approval in the European Union (EU) 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.

Page edited: 3 May 2022