COVID-19 (coronavirus) is a highly infectious disease that can cause serious illness, hospitalisation and even death.
COVID-19 vaccines offer protection from COVID-19. If you do get COVID-19 after vaccination, you should be protected from the serious illness the virus can sometimes cause.
You don't have to get a COVID-19 vaccine by law. But we strongly recommend that you get your vaccine when it's offered to you.
There's no charge for getting your COVID-19 vaccine. It's free. You cannot get it privately.
People being vaccinated now
People who are most at risk from COVID-19 are being vaccinated first. Vaccination will be offered to the next groups as soon as possible.
You do not need to contact us to get your COVID-19 vaccine. We will let you know when you can register for your vaccine through your healthcare team, news or public advertising.
When you should not get your COVID-19 vaccine
Do not get your COVID-19 vaccine if you:
- have had a severe allergic reaction to a previous dose of the vaccine
- currently have COVID-19 – wait until it has been 4 weeks since you first tested positive
- have symptoms of COVID-19 – self-isolate (stay in your room) and phone your GP to get tested
- have a fever (temperature of 38 degrees Celsius or above) – wait until you feel better
- are restricting your movements - wait until you have completed your period of restricted movements to get your vaccine
Talk to your GP before getting your COVID-19 vaccine if you have had an immediate allergic reaction to:
- any other vaccine
- injectable therapy – this means any medicine by injection for example, insulin or an IV (intravenous) drip
- any of the ingredients in the vaccine, including polyethylene glycol (found in the Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna vaccines) or polysorbate 80 (found in the AstraZeneca and Janssen vaccines)
The vaccinator will ask you about any allergies you may have.
You may be vaccinated at a GP surgery or a vaccination centre.
Which COVID-19 vaccine you will get
You do not get to choose which vaccine you get. The type of vaccine offered to you will be based on supply.
All the vaccines we use are safe and will protect you from serious illness or death from COVID-19. The best vaccine to get is the one you are offered.
Read more about the:
- AstraZeneca vaccine
- Moderna vaccine
- Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine (also known as "Comirnaty")
- Janssen vaccine
When you are fully vaccinated
Even after you are vaccinated, continue to follow public health advice on how to stop the spread of COVID-19. For example, social distancing, wearing a face covering and washing your hands properly and often.
If you have already had COVID-19
If you have already had COVID-19, you still need to get vaccinated. This is because you could become infected with the virus again.
There's a small chance you might still get COVID-19 even if you have been vaccinated. But you'll be protected from the serious illness the virus can sometimes cause.
Close contacts of COVID-19
If you work or live in a nursing home or long-term care facility, the vaccination team will let you know if you can get a COVID-19 vaccine.
For everyone else, you should wait until you have completed your period of restricted movements to get a COVID-19 vaccine.
After COVID-19 vaccination, you can still become a close contact. There is no change in advice for what close contacts of COVID-19 need to do, even if they have been vaccinated.
If you are cocooning
Talk to your GP if you cannot leave home for medical reasons. They can refer you for home vaccination.
If you are cocooning and get your COVID-19 vaccine there is no change in advice. For example, you are still advised to stay at home as much as possible and work from home. If you are not able to work from home, talk to your employer.
If you take immunosuppressive medicines
You should still get your COVID-19 vaccine if you take immunosuppressant medicines.
Examples of immunosuppressants are:
- biologic agents
If you take rituximab, speak to your consultant before getting the vaccine. They will tell you the best time, between doses of rituximab, to get the vaccine.
If you have a weakened immune system, your COVID-19 vaccine may not work as well for you. But there is no extra risk in getting it.
You will need to give your consent before you get your COVID-19 vaccine.
Your vaccinator will be happy to answer any questions you have at your appointment.
Your personal information will be processed in line with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). It will only be processed for the specific purpose of managing your vaccination.
This content was fact checked by vaccine experts working in Ireland
Last updated: 9 April 2021 at 3.15pm