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Jab latest Public will register online to get the Covid-19 vaccine under new plan for high-tech system


The Pfizer/BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine has already been approved in the UK (Victoria Jones/PA)

The Pfizer/BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine has already been approved in the UK (Victoria Jones/PA)

The Pfizer/BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine has already been approved in the UK (Victoria Jones/PA)

PEOPLE will register online to get the Covid-19 jab under plans for a new high-tech system which the HSE is purchasing for the country’s biggest-ever vaccination rollout.

A taskforce chaired by Professor Brian MacCraith will today deliver to Government the plan to bring the vaccine to the people from January.

The success of the programme is seen as crucial to ending the current restrictions.

HSE chief Paul Reid expects to conclude a deal with technology companies to install a system to allow people who want the vaccine to self-register, book a jab, and provide data on monitoring and tracking who is being immunised.

The plan is also expected to recommend that “vaccine ambassadors” who are trusted by the public be nominated to encourage take-up.

Health Minister Stephen Donnelly said the rollout will see specific messaging to counter the false information of anti-vaxxers.

Immunisation centres are to be set up, but GPs and pharmacists are also due to be called upon to provide the vaccine later in 2021.

Mr Reid said: “We hope to select a vendor for the IT system very shortly and start the configuration process.”

The hope is the self-registration system will be in place early next year.

Vaccinations will initially focus on long-term care homes and healthcare workers, moving to older people in the community and key workers.

It comes as the first published data on the final phase of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine described the trial results as “impressive” and a “triumph”.

The prestigious New England Journal of Medicine said the vaccine has a “remarkable level of safety and efficacy”, holding the promise of saving “uncounted lives and giving us a pathway out of what has been a global disaster”.

Professor Karina Butler, chair of the National Immunisation Advisory Committee which drew up the priority list for access to he vaccine, said Ireland is waiting for the green light for the vaccine from the European Medicines Agency (EMA).

She added the FDA analysis in the US of the data around Pfizer’s vaccine has affirmed its efficacy.

“These are encouraging signs, however, it is important to ensure full EMA approval before vaccine roll-out in Ireland.”

Prof Butler said the pecking order on the list was based on the people most likely to get severe disease or die from Covid-19.

It also took into account those who cannot protect themselves and keep a physical distance.

Chief medical officer Dr Tony Holohan would not be drawn on now many doses of the Pfizer vaccine the Republic might expect initially, but it is hoped it could be 200,000 to 300,000.

This would be enough to immunise a large number of the of the most vulnerable before the next consignment arrives.

The plan is expected to set out various scenarios on how many people could be offered the vaccine depending on availability.

Ireland has signed advance purchase agreements with five companies making potential vaccines. They include 2.3 million doses from Pfizer, 3.3 million from AstraZeneca, as well as vaccines from CureVac, Moderna and Johnson.

Irish-born Emer Cooke, head of the EMA, yesterday defended the decision to wait for a conditional marketing authorisation for the vaccine in Europe.

“While speed is of the essence, safety is our number one priority,” she said.

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Online Editors