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Totally phoney Warning over text scam offering Covid-19 vaccine appointments as 1,501 cases announced

The HSE told the public it does not charge the public for coronavirus services, including vaccinations.

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A generic stock photo of a woman using a mobile phone in central London.

A generic stock photo of a woman using a mobile phone in central London.

Vaccination centres will welcome walk-ins over the course of the weekend (Niall Carson/PA)

Vaccination centres will welcome walk-ins over the course of the weekend (Niall Carson/PA)

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A generic stock photo of a woman using a mobile phone in central London.

The HSE has urged the public to be vigilant following reports of a text scam from criminals claiming to be offering a Covid-19 vaccination appointment.

Recipients are asked to follow a link to pre-book a vaccination appointment and then enter credit or debit card details in a payment section.

The HSE said it does not charge the public for Covid-19 services, including vaccinations.

Anyone who receives a similar text is asked to contact gardai.

Meanwhile, 40,000 GAA fans will be allowed to attend the All-Ireland finals, it has been confirmed.

Minister of State for Sport Jack Chambers said that 24,000 fans will be able to attend the All-Ireland semi finals next week and 25,000 spectators can attend two World Cup qualifier games.

“We will continue to build on the progress to date to get as many fans safely back to our stadia,” Mr Chambers said.

On Friday, health officials warned the Irish Government of the need to plan now for winter.

Chief medical officer Dr Tony Holohan gave a presentation to politicians at a meeting of the North South Ministerial Council (NSMC) on Friday.

Speaking after the NSMC, Taoiseach Micheal Martin said the advice was to start planning now for the winter.

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Mr Martin said Dr Holohan stressed “the need to start planning for the winter period in terms of the protections we can put in place”.

He said the winter could bring fresh challenges as the country deals with the normal flu season, alongside the Covid pandemic and the Delta variant of the virus.

“We have to be cautious. We have to be careful. We have reopened society very significantly. We’ve got to protect that. We will keep a watching brief on this over August,” Mr Martin said.

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Taoiseach Micheal Martin hosted the meeting (Lorraine O’Sullivan/PA)

Taoiseach Micheal Martin hosted the meeting (Lorraine O’Sullivan/PA)

Taoiseach Micheal Martin hosted the meeting (Lorraine O’Sullivan/PA)

Mr Martin also appealed to people to be patient as the vaccine programme continues.

“Is it too much to ask that we wait another number of weeks to get into a really strong protective situation vis-a-vis our society with a very high numbers of vaccinations?” he said.

Mr Martin was asked about the fact that the Bishop of Elphin, Kevin Doran, has told priests in his diocese that they can proceed with communions and confirmations in the weeks to come.

“I would say to the church authorities that the Government’s only motivation here, in terms of the regulations we have brought in, in respect of gatherings and congregations, is to protect people, is to protect people’s health.

Vaccination and the incredible uptake across many age groups is leading us to a turning point in the pandemicDr Tony Holohan

“I don’t approve of any unilateral breaching of regulations.

“We are always open as a Government to engaging with sectors and engaging with different representative groups. We do appreciate that this is very difficult.”

The first of Ireland’s walk-in vaccination centres opened to the public on Friday morning, with more set to deliver jabs over the bank holiday weekend.

Clinics are open to anyone aged 16 and over who has yet to receive a first dose, with the first walk-in clinic opening at the Clonguish GAA Club in Co Longford at 8am on Friday.

The Midlands Park Hotel in Co Laois opened at 9am on Friday for walk-in vaccinations, as did the Clonmel Park Hotel in Tipperary.

More vaccination centres will welcome walk-ins over the course of the weekend and anyone attending will receive the first dose of the Pfizer jab.

Dr Holohan said the walk-in vaccination centres are available for those yet to receive a first dose.

“If you have a child with an underlying medical condition, that is living in a household where there are other people at risk, please avail of vaccination at the earliest opportunity,” he said.

“Vaccination and the incredible uptake across many age groups is leading us to a turning point in the pandemic.

“If we experience similar uptake in the younger cohorts as experienced in the over-60s, Ireland will have a strong population level defence against Covid-19 and its known variants.”

Dr Ronan Glynn, deputy chief medical officer, said; “If you experience any symptoms of a cold or flu, including fever, cough, shortness of breath, change in taste or smell, headache, sore throat, runny nose or blocked nose/sinuses, please isolate and come forward for a test.

Most clinics will open for walk-ins on Saturday.

Anyone arriving at a walk-in centre will need to take photo ID, and anyone aged 16 and 17 can take a copy of their birth certificate.

Those aged 16 and 17 do not need parental consent to receive the vaccine.

Health officials said children aged between 12 and 16 should be offered a vaccination in August.

Donegal, Louth and Galway are among the counties with the highest 14-day incidence rate.

More than 5.7 million vaccines have been administered, with 86% of people partially vaccinated and 71% of people now fully vaccinated.

A further 1,501 cases of Covid-19 were reported in Ireland on Friday.

A total of 169 patients in hospital have Covid-19, with 23 in intensive care.

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