People aged 59 will be able to register online for a Covid-19 vaccine from Tuesday.

The HSE online portal will open to those aged 50-59 this week as Ministers consider plans to speed up the rollout of vaccines to the under-50s.

HSE chief executive Paul Reid said on Monday almost 200,000 vaccinations were carried out last week while “over 780,000 [were] done through April”. That is considerably short of the 860,000 target planned last month.

This is expected to be the busiest week yet for the programme, with 220,000-240,000 vaccinations scheduled.

However, changes to restrictions on the use of the AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson vaccines, alongside fluctuating delivery schedules, have presented Ministers with a choice of accelerating the programme for under-50s or potentially having hundreds of thousands of unused doses by mid-summer.

Mr Reid on Sunday warned that if people in their 50s were still waiting for vaccines while those in their 30s were receiving them, it would not be good from a public health perspective.

The Irish Times reports that HSE officials are working on a revised vaccination schedule and a memo on the programme is expected to be discussed at Tuesday’s Cabinet meeting.

A key issue will be maintaining momentum to reach the target of more than 80 per cent of adults receiving or being offered a first dose by the end of June.

‘Get back out there’

Meanwhile, the chief medical officer has urged those who have been vaccinated to “get back out there” once restrictions begin to ease from May 10th.

Dr Tony Holohan said the Covid-19 vaccines have given people most at risk of the virus an opportunity to regain many freedoms that were taken in the last year.

In an open letter to those who have been vaccinated, Dr Holohan said people can have faith that the vaccines work.

Dr Holohan said that the pandemic has dealt every person in Ireland an “unfair hand”, in many different and diverse ways.

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