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jab system HSE covid vaccine portal: What you need, when your age group can register and what to do if you can't register online

  • Nine thousand people register on Covid-19 vaccine portal within ONE HOUR of opening

  • Taoiseach Micheál Martin said the uptake is "great to see"

NINE thousand people aged 69 have used the HSE’s new vaccination portal within the first hour of its opening.

Taoiseach Micheál Martin declared the uptake online as "great to see".

The gateway to register for a jab opened at 10am today and no early problems were reported — despite online complaints and mockery of the 39 steps involved in setting up an account to be successfully registered.

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The HSE covid vaccine portal has gone live for people aged 65-69.

The HSE covid vaccine portal has gone live for people aged 65-69.

The HSE covid vaccine portal has gone live for people aged 65-69.

There is thought to be up to 40,000 69-year-olds in Ireland, this means a quarter of them registered for a vaccine in the first hour.

People aged 69 will be able to register today, 68-year-olds can register from Friday, 67-year-olds from Saturday, 66-year-olds from Sunday and 65-year-olds from next Monday.

Those who have done so have been promised a jab within one or two weeks.

The '39 steps' to register

“Nine thousand registered in the first hour and generally each took under ten minutes to do so, with some considerably less (time),” a spokesperson for the HSE told SundayWorld.com.

He added: “Five hundred have registered by phone. It’s going smoothly.”

There has been online criticism of the many qualifying buttons to be pressed and information demanded — from an eircode to information about parents.

The ‘39 steps’ include entering personal information in windows to set up a personal account, leading to comparisons to a famous spy book, “The 39 steps” by John Buchan, about a nefarious conspiracy against individuals.

A HSE official said however that the request for an eircode was “so you might get a vaccination appointment near where you live,” and was not unnecessarily intrusive.

“The 39 steps is just a way of saying this is all mad,” he complained, saying there was an attempt to create the latest “fiasco narrative.”

The truth was an average completion time within ten minutes and “no queues, no problems” as yet.

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Some critics have pointed out however that in Northern Ireland a person has to give far less information, such as proof of date of birth, and a name and address for themselves and their GP, with vaccination appointments then being made via GP surgeries. It is understood the HSE looked at this option but concluded that it was not feasible in the Republic.

The whole registration form on the portal must be filled in completely before an application is accepted.

People who do not want to use the online portal — and the Department of Health accepts there may be many older people in this category — may avail of the phone line HSELive on 1850 24 1850 to register their applications.

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Today is the first time the portal is open to the public

Today is the first time the portal is open to the public

Today is the first time the portal is open to the public

Today is the first time the portal is open to the public, having previously been used by healthcare workers. This portal will also be used for the wider population in the roll-out from now on as age groups are invited to apply for a vaccine in descending order.

The website has a number of steps, and first requires people to confirm their phone number and email via a code and a link respectively.

Afterwards, users are asked to make a password, as well as enter their mother’s birth surname.

The form requests a PPS number, Eircode, date of birth, gender, nationality, and ethnic background. Finally, those who are registered with a GP are also asked to input the name of their GP.

The online vaccination registration portal may pose accessibility issues for some older people, a seniors’ rights group has said.

As part of the country’s vaccine roll-out, from today people between the ages of 65 to 69 can now log on to a new HSE website to book their vaccine appointment. However, CEO of the Irish Senior Citizens Parliament, Sue Shaw, said some of the questions might cause problems.

“I have spoken to have a few of our members and they have said they’re a bit concerned about logging on but they’re going to seek support from other family members. But they’re a bit anxious about it,” she said.

“I think if the site itself is easily accessible and easy to manoeuvre through, it might not be so difficult.”

Ms Shaw had some concerns about the HSE phone helpline, saying: “I would like to see how resourced that will be, how open it will be, and how easy and accessible it will be to use.

Digital divide

“In the cohort they’re looking to log on, there’s a huge digital divide. There wouldn’t be the access and familiarity that you would have of people in the 50 age bracket.”

Speaking about the phone line, she said: “The people using the 189 numbers, or the 180 numbers, or the HSE helpline or any of the helplines - it’s a transfer from the system, so people will be reluctant even to make the phone call.

Following the decision of the National Immunisation Advisory Committee, all the over-60s will be offered the AstraZeneca vaccine. This is due to a very small risk of unusual but serious blood clots. The risks of Covid-19 far outweigh the extremely low risk of a blood clot.

The move means that the over-60s who are outside of the medically vulnerable groups will be vaccinated earlier than they thought.

There will be a three month gap between the first and second dose.

It will also mark the first outing of the vaccination roll out to people on grounds of age where they register.

The over-70s were contacted by their GPs.

It should also minimise the chance of queue jumping.

It is unclear if people will have to produce proof of age when they get to the vaccination centre or GP surgery.

The HSE is due to reveal how it has reorganised the roll out following the AstraZeneca decision.

It will also have to factor in the delay in the arrival of over 40,000 doses of the one-shot Johnson and Johnson vaccine this month,

A question mark hangs over the more than 600,000 doses due here before the end of June.

This follows the decision of the FDA to pause its roll out in the USA while it investigates a small number of blood clots in around 7 million who got the vaccine.

Johnson and Johnson decided to pause the delivery of vaccines to Europe until the FDA and EMA reports on the assessment.

Checklist before you go to vaccine portal

A mobile phone. You will be sent a five digit verification code by text at the start of registration.

An email address. You need to click on a link the HSE send to verify the email address within 24 hours of receiving the email. This must be done on the same device (phone, laptop or computer being used to register in the portal.

Your PSS Number

Your Eircode.

Personal details: name, date of birth, mother's maiden name, gender, nationality, ethnic background, GP's name or GP practice name.

How the portal works

You will be asked to press the “Start now” button and told how big the queue is. It usually takes a few minutes.

When it reaches your turn, you’ll be given 10 minutes to access the system.

Create your account – you will need to access to your email address and mobile phone in order to verify your identity.

Enter your personal details.

Finally, you will get an opportunity to review all your details before they are submitted to the HSE.

If you need to register more than one person, you will have to repeat the process for the second person.

You can access the portal here.

If you can’t register online

You can register by phone any day between 8am and 8pm. The number is LoCall: 1850 54 1850. If you are deaf or hard of hearing you can send a text message to the HSE's COVID-19 helpline on 086 1800 661.

When you can register

69 years old – register on Thursday, April 15 or anytime after

68 years old – register on Friday, April 16 or anytime after

67 years old – register on Saturday, April 17 or anytime after

66 years old – register on Sunday, April 18 or anytime after

65 years old– register on Monday, April 19 or anytime after


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