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COVID-19 - protecting yourself and others

This page is available in other languages:

Ukrainian - COVID-19 - захистіть себе та оточуючих
Russian - COVID-19 – как защитить себя и других

COVID-19 is still with us. Do not meet someone else if you have any symptoms of COVID-19 or get a positive test result.

Read what to do if you have symptoms of COVID-19

There are things you can do to prevent the spread of COVID-19 when you arrive in Ireland.

  • do an antigen test for COVID-19 when you arrive
  • get a COVID-19 vaccine
  • wear a face mask on public transport and inside healthcare buildings
  • wash your hands properly and often
  • try to avoid crowded places where you cannot keep a distance from other people - keep at least 1 metre from other people if you can
  • cover coughs or sneezes with a tissue or your sleeve, put used tissues into a bin and wash your hands

COVID-19 testing

You will be offered COVID-19 antigen test kits at the airport. You can do the antigen tests in your own time. You do not have to do the tests.

Antigen tests for COVID-19

You do the antigen tests yourself. You use a swab to take a sample from your nose. Follow the instructions in the antigen test kit.

The test sample does not have to go to a laboratory. You usually get your result in 15 minutes.

There are 3 types of antigen test results:

  • positive (detected)
  • negative (not detected)
  • invalid

What you need to do depends on your test result:

Negative antigen test result

If you get a negative antigen test result, you need to do the following:

  • report your negative antigen result (in English)
  • continue to follow the advice at the top of this page on how to protect yourself and others

If you have symptoms of COVID-19, continue to self-isolate until you’ve had no symptoms for 48 hours.

A negative test does not mean you do not have COVID-19. It just means that the virus was not found on the sample you took.

Positive antigen test result

If you get a positive antigen test result, you need to do the following:

  • stay away from other people for 7 days - self-isolate (stay in your room) if you can
  • wear a medical grade or respirator face mask if you have to be around other people
  • report your positive test result

You can stop isolating after 7 days if you have had no symptoms for the last 48 hours. You do not need to do any more tests unless you develop symptoms again after finishing self-isolation.

When you stop self-isolating after 7 days, you need to take extra care for another 3 days to reduce the risk of passing COVID-19 on.

You should do the following:

  • limit close contact with people you do not live with
  • wear a face mask
  • avoid contact with anyone who is at higher risk of severe illness from COVID-19
  • follow the advice at the top of the page on how to protect yourself and others from COVID-19

Invalid antigen test result

If you have an invalid test result, do another test.

PCR tests for COVID-19

You can get a PCR test if you have symptoms and you are in 1 of the following categories:

  • aged 55 or older and have not had a COVID-19 vaccine booster dose
  • have a high-risk medical condition
  • have a weak immune system (immunocompromised)
  • live in the same household as a person who has a weak immune system, or provide support or care for them
  • are pregnant
  • are a healthcare worker

Book a PCR test

Symptoms of COVID-19

The most common symptoms of COVID-19 are the following:

  • fever (high temperature - 38 degrees Celsius or above) - including having chills
  • dry cough
  • fatigue (tiredness)

COVID-19 symptoms can be like symptoms of cold, flu or hay fever.

Less common symptoms

Less common symptoms of COVID-19 include the following:

  • loss or change to your sense of smell or taste – this could mean they're completely gone or just different to normal
  • nasal congestion (runny or blocked nose)
  • conjunctivitis (also known as red eye or pink eye)
  • sore throat
  • headache
  • muscle or joint pain (aches and pains)
  • different types of skin rash
  • nausea or vomiting
  • diarrhoea
  • chills or dizziness

Severe symptoms

Symptoms of severe COVID‐19 include the following:

  • shortness of breath or breathing difficulties
  • loss of appetite
  • confusion
  • pain or pressure in the chest
  • fever (high temperature - 38 degrees Celsius or above)

You may not have all of the symptoms or your symptoms may be mild.

It can take up to 14 days after you are infected for symptoms to show. You can spread COVID-19 during this time.

If you have symptoms of COVID-19

If you have any symptoms of COVID-19, you should do the following:

  • self-isolate (stay in your room) until 48 hours after your symptoms are mostly or fully gone
  • wear a face mask if you have to be around other people
  • tell the accommodation manager if you are staying in shared accommodation

Do these things even if you have been vaccinated against COVID-19 or had COVID-19 in the past.

Certain groups of people with symptoms should get a COVID-19 test.

People who test positive for COVID-19 or have symptoms should self-isolate (stay in your room) if they can.

But if you cannot self-isolate, everyone in the room aged 9 and older should wear a mask. For adults and older children, this should be a medical or respirator mask.

For some children, a medical or respirator mask may not fit well on their smaller face. Children who are 9 or older can wear a cloth mask that fits well in these situations. Younger children may not be able to wear any kind of mask.

When to wear a medical or respirator mask

Wear a medical or respirator mask if you are in the following situations:

  • at higher risk from COVID-19 in indoor or outdoor crowded places
  • visiting a healthcare setting
  • visiting someone at higher risk of COVID-19
  • stopping self-isolation after 7 days - wear this type of mask for 10 days in total

Children aged 9 or older must wear a face mask in healthcare settings.

COVID-19 vaccines

Getting vaccinated is the best way to protect yourself and others against COVID-19. COVID-19 vaccinations reduce the risk of serious illness.

We only use vaccines that meet safety standards.

Learn more about COVID-19 vaccines in Ireland, including the following:

Getting a COVID-19 vaccine

You need the following information to get a COVID-19 vaccine:

  • mobile phone number
  • email address
  • Personal Public Service (PPS) number
  • Eircode - the post code of your address

You can book a COVID-19 vaccine appointment online or go to a walk-in clinic. Walk-in clinics are only available for people aged 12 and over.

Book your COVID-19 vaccine appointment

Find a COVID-19 walk-in clinic

Read more about Personal Public Service (PPS) numbers

A Personal Public Service (PPS) number is a unique reference number that helps you access social welfare benefits, public services and information in Ireland. A PPS number is always 7 numbers followed by 1 or 2 letters.

You will get information about how to get a PPS number at the airport. If you are already in Ireland, go to your local Intreo Centre or Branch Office. Staff will help you to get a PPS number.

Find an Intreo Centre or Branch office

If you do not have a PPS number, call 1800 700 700 to register by phone.

Delay getting vaccinated if you:

  • have symptoms of COVID-19 or a positive antigen test result – self-isolate (stay in your room)

If you had COVID-19, you need to wait:

  • 3 months if you are due to get a booster dose or additional dose (weak immune system)
  • 4 weeks if you are due to get your first round of COVID-19 vaccination

If your child had COVID-19, they need to wait:

  • 4 weeks if they are due to get dose 1 or dose 2
  • 3 months if they are due to get an additional dose because of a weak immune system
  • 6 months to get a booster (children aged 12 to 15)

If you got your first dose abroad

All COVID-19 vaccines used in Ukraine have been approved by the European Medicines Agency (EMA) or by the World Health Organization (WHO).

If you have partially completed a COVID-19 vaccine course in Ukraine, you will be offered a vaccine to complete your course. The vaccine you are offered depends on your age.

If the vaccine being given for the second dose is different from the first dose, you must wait 28 days after your first dose to get your second dose.

You will need to provide your vaccination details:

  • vaccine type
  • vaccine expiry date
  • the date you got the vaccine

Weak immune system and COVID-19 vaccines - additional dose

It is important that you are vaccinated against COVID-19 if you have a weak immune system (immunosuppressed or immunocompromised).

Having a weak immune system puts you at higher risk of serious illness if you get COVID-19. Getting vaccinated will give you some protection against this.

COVID-19 vaccines may be less effective for you than other people. Because your immune system may not respond as well to vaccination, you could still be at risk of becoming severely ill from COVID-19. You are also at risk of COVID-19 infection lasting for longer.

If you had a weak immune system at the time of your first round of COVID-19 vaccination, you can get an additional dose to give you better protection

You can get your booster at least 3 months after your additional dose if you are 12 or older.

An example of recommended COVID-19 vaccination for someone over 12 with a weak immune system is the following:

  • 2 doses of the Pfizer vaccine as your first round of COVID-19 vaccination
  • an additional Pfizer dose at least 2 months after this
  • a booster Pfizer dose at least 3 months after your additional dose

An additional dose followed by a booster will hopefully give you better protection against COVID-19. You may be offered a different vaccine depending on supply.

Getting a COVID-19 booster dose

A ‘booster dose’ is the extra dose of COVID-19 vaccine to give better protection after you have had your first round of COVID-19 vaccination.

If you were vaccinated abroad, you can get your booster in Ireland if you are due one. You must be 12 years or older.

After your first round of COVID-19 vaccination, you need to wait:

  • 3 months (at least 90 days) if you are 16 or older
  • 6 months (at least 179 days) if you are aged 12 to 15

If you are getting Novavax for a booster dose, you should get this at least 5 months after your last COVID-19 vaccine.

Phone 1800 700 700 to arrange your appointment.

You will need to provide your vaccination details:

  • vaccine type
  • vaccine expiry date
  • the date you got the vaccine

Children aged 12 to 15 must attend their booster appointment with a parent or guardian. A parent or guardian will need to give consent for their child’s vaccination.

Information in English

You can find more information in English on this website on the following topics:

Related Content

page last reviewed: 31/03/2022
next review due: 31/03/2025