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Got your vac Online portal allowing everyone to register for Covid jab will be up and running in 3 weeks

Taoiseach Micheal Martin said the aim was to have 80 per cent of the population vaccinated by the end of June

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A healthcare worker prepares a dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine (Photo: REUTERS/Jon Nazca)

A healthcare worker prepares a dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine (Photo: REUTERS/Jon Nazca)

A healthcare worker prepares a dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine (Photo: REUTERS/Jon Nazca)

A website allowing for everyone to register for a Covid vaccine will be available within two or three weeks, the Taoiseach has told the Dáil.

The portal will be available to allow everyone to apply from mid-April or the third week of next month, Micheál Martin told Deputies.

He said the aim was to have 80 per cent of the population vaccinated by the end of June, and not just offered the vaccine.

Labour Party leader Alan Kelly said he was delighted to hear it.

The Taoiseach said Ireland was now “into a different era” in comparison to the first three months of the year, when the Government always knew the volumes of vaccines received would be low, compounded by AstraZeneca supply and manufacturing issues.

“The data is much stronger for the second quarter for April, May and June, and the target is to have 80 per cent not just offered vaccination, but vaccinated by the end of June. That is the target.”

Mr Martin said there would be “intense vaccination” during the summer months, with more companies coming on stream to supply jabs, such as Johnson and Johnson.

The High Level Task Force on vaccines was more confident in terms of supply lines, he said, meaning the focus “will switch to the administration of far higher volumes of vaccines now.”

The Taoiseach also addressed criticism that the Government has changed course to prioritise vaccination by age, rather than according to physical or medical need.

Mr Martin said the evidence available to Nphet and NIAC, the National Immunisation Advisory Committee, was that age was “the biggest factor in mortality and in severe illness arising from Covid.”

He added: “The change that has been announced is about getting the most vulnerable in our society, vaccinated as fast as we possibly can — and not have any barriers or obstacles in the way of getting mass vaccination done.

The Taoiseach said different cohorts, teachers for example, would thus be vaccinated much more quickly.

Those who are medically more vulnerable would also be vaccinated more quickly, he said, while adding that identifying this cohort was “challenging,” because planners were going through GPs in relation to eligible patients.

Independent TD Michael McNamara asked why healthy young people, who happened to work in healthcare delivery, were being vaccinated among the first when all the evidence showed the virus as no threat to them.

Mr Martin said it was because the advice was to vaccinate all frontline workers as a cohort.

The Taoiseach said of online registration for a jab: “The task force envisages having the portal up and running in the middle of April — perhaps in the third week of April.

“I can get the specific dates — but that is the intention, so that people can apply.”

He added: “On average, between April and May, we're looking at [administering] 2 million vaccinations, with a higher amount in May over April.

“I think we're looking at (vaccinating the) over-60s by the end of April.”

Next month’s volumes would be followed by a higher amount of vaccinations in May, “and then higher figures again in June, and July,” the Taoiseach said.

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