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Reader Q&A: The vaccine registration portal for 65-69s is now live - here's how it works

Those aged 69 can register today and will be notified shortly about their appointments.

Image: Sam Boal

Updated Apr 15th 2021, 10:03 AM

FROM TODAY PEOPLE aged over 65 will be able to register their details so they can receive an appointment for a Covid-19 vaccine.

The portal is open for those aged 69 first, rolling out over the following four days to those aged 68, 67, 66 and then 65. 

This is the beginning of the age-based rollout of the vaccination programme, with a similar system due to be used for later cohorts. 

As part of our Reader Q&A series, we have been breaking down the latest developments with the rollout in Ireland, trying to answer as many of your questions as we can.

This week the focus is on how the rollout to those aged 65-59 will work – here are some of the questions readers sent us.

The portal

  • When will the portal be operational?
  • If I have no access to the portal how can I register?
  • Will we be able to book a slot for vaccination ourselves or are we just registering interest?
  • What information will I need at hand to register for the vaccine?

The registration system is now online, first for those aged 69. 

Tomorrow it will be open for those aged 68, Saturday will be the first registration day for those aged 67, Sunday will be the first day for the 66 group and on Monday the portal will be open for those aged 65. 

The HSE has said it is asking people to begin registering on specific days to help manage demand on the system. You will also be able to access this system after those days – registration is not limited to this five-day period.

The registration system can be accessed through the HSE website.

The Taoiseach has said hundreds of people have already registered this morning:

There is a queuing system on the site to manage traffic but it has been moving quickly.

People will be asked to provide basic details such as their name, email address, phone number and date of birth. They will also be asked to provide their PPS number and their Eircode.

The purpose of the system is to register your interest in receiving a vaccine and to make your details available to the health service – you will not be able to book a specific time slot for your own vaccine through the portal.

Vaccines for this group – around 180,000 people – will be given over April and May, starting around one week after registration opens. 

The HSE said appointments will be assigned by age, so it does not matter how quickly you register, ie a 65-year-old who registers on Monday will not get an appointment earlier than a 67-year-old who registers three days later. 

People who do not have access to the internet or who are not confident with using the online portal can call 1850 24 1850 for assistance with the registration process. 

Source: HSE Ireland/YouTube

Choice of vaccine

  • Will people be told in advance which vaccine they’re receiving?
  • My husband and myself suffer from clots with a family history on my side. Is it possible to have the Pfizer vaccine or do we have a choice? We don’t want the AstraZeneca one.
  • As a healthy 69-year-old man, I may be offered the AstraZeneca vaccine in the near future. As there is a history of thrombophlebitis [clots in the leg], can I refuse this vaccine and elect to take another?

The news this week that the National Immunisation Advisory Committee (NIAC) recommended the AstraZeneca vaccine be used only in those aged over 60 has caused concern among some who are still due to receive it.

The decision was taken after a small number of serious but rare blood clotting disorders were identified in people shortly after receiving a dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine. The European regulator has stated that these blood clotting events should be listed as a possible rare side effect of the vaccine.

These reported events involved blood clots in the brain, abdomen and arteries, together with low levels of platelets and sometimes bleeding. 

Those rare blood clotting events occur in 4-10 cases in every million AZ vaccine doses administered, in which one person may die. As of 4 April, 221 cases of these rare events were reported to the European centralised database. Around 34 million people had been vaccinated in the EEA and UK by this date. 

This week Irish health officials explained that someone aged 60-64 is 85 times more likely to die of Covid-19 than to have any clotting event following the vaccine – this includes all clotting events; regular clotting such as those identified in the leg as well as the rare thrombosis. 

People aged 55-59 are 48 times more likely to die of Covid-19 than get a blood clot.

Evidence shows that these vary rare side effects have been mostly seen in people under 60.

Currently, the AstraZeneca vaccine is the jab that will be used for those aged 65-69. Those over 70 will continue to receive the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines. 

While it is up to each individual to choose whether they want to take a vaccine – and they have a right to refuse a vaccine – it is not possible to refuse one and then request a different one. The advice is to accept whichever vaccine you are offered.

Deputy Chief Medical Officer Dr Ronan Glynn earlier this week explained that while people who refuse the AstraZeneca vaccine now will not be blocked entirely from receiving a vaccine, they will have to wait considerably longer for an alternative. This means delaying protection from the disease, a particular concern among those aged over 60. 

“If someone aged 65 is thinking of taking this vaccine if it’s offered to them in the coming weeks, versus waiting for the summer when there’s a surplus of other vaccines, I would highly, strongly recommend that they take what they are being offered now,” he said.

“What’s being offered is a very safe, very effective vaccine for their age cohort. The risks of them catching Covid-19… and ending up dying of that disease are far, far, far higher than any potential risk on receipt of one of these vaccines.”

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The HSE has said those who have a history of blood clots in the family, as well as those who have recently had a clot or who are on blood thinning treatments should still have the AstraZeneca vaccine when offered it. This advice also applies to those who have a condition or who are on treatment that makes them more likely to get a blood clot – they should still get the vaccine.

“There is no reason to delay vaccination,” The HSE said. “Like everyone who gets the vaccine, you should be aware of the symptoms to look out for.”

These include:

  • breathlessness;
  • pain in the chest or stomach;
  • swelling or coldness in an arm or leg;
  • severe or worsening headache or blurred vision after vaccination;
  • persistent bleeding;
  • multiple small bruises, reddish or purplish spots, or blood blisters under the skin.

Location

  • Can we still attend our own GP for a vaccine?
  • Will we be able to choose our vaccination centre, or at least be guaranteed one near to where we live?

Vaccinations for this cohort will be done at a vaccination centre, not at a GP surgery. 

GPs are currently focused on medically vulnerable groups such as those aged over 70 and those with very high risk and high risk conditions. These vaccinations at GP surgeries will be taking place in parallel to the rollout to those aged 65-69.

When you receive a notification by text message about your appointment, you will get a date, time and the address of a vaccination centre to go to. This will be sent three to seven days before the appointment. 

Here’s the full list of vaccination centre locations:

  • Sligo IT
  • Galway Racecourse
  • Radisson Hotel, Limerick
  • Páirc Uí Chaoimh
  • City Hall Cork
  • MTU Campus Melbourn Building
  • WIT Arena
  • Aviva Stadium
  • Citywest Convention Centre
  • International Arena AIT, Athlone
  • Helix Theatre DCU
  • Letterkenny Institute of Technology
  • Kilmore Hotel, Co Cavan
  • Hillgrove Hotel, Co Monaghan
  • Primary Care Unit, Carrick on Shannon
  • Breaffy House Resort, Castlebar
  • Abbey Hotel, Roscommon
  • West County Hotel, Ennis
  • Abbeycourt Hotel, Nenagh
  • Mallow GAA Club
  • Killarney Sports & Leisure Centre
  • Clonakilty GAA Club
  • Bantry Primary Care Centre
  • Kerry Sports Academy
  • Cillin Hill Conference Centre, Kilkenny
  • The Clonmel Park Hotel
  • Riverside Hotel Enniscorthy
  • Carlow IT
  • Shoreline Leisure Centre, Greystones
  • Arklow Bay Hotel & Conference Centre
  • Punchestown Racecourse
  • Bloomfield House Hotel, Mullingar
  • Simmonstown GAA Club, Navan
  • Midlands Park Hotel, Portlaoise
  • Fairways Hotel, Dundalk
  • Clonguish GAA Club, Co Longford
  • Tullamore Court Hotel
  • Croke Park

As part of the registration process people will be asked to provide their Eircode, so it is likely this will be used to ensure they are sent to a vaccination centre that is close to them. 

If you’ve used the registration system today, we want to hear how you found the experience. Email answers@thejournal.ie.

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