The first of the walk-in Covid-19 vaccination centres, operating over the bank holiday weekend, have opened.
The walk-in vaccine clinics operated by the Health Service Executive are for anyone over the age of 16 who has yet to receive a first dose.
Clonguish GAA Club in Newtownforbes, Co Longford; the Clonmel Park Hotel, Co Tipperary; and the Midlands Park Hotel in Co Laois are among the first to open, with more clinics around the country opening tomorrow, Sunday and Monday.
There is no need to register online before visiting one of these clinics, but people will need to supply a PPS number, phone number, email, eircode, and photo ID.
Those attending will receive a first dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine.
The HSE said it is hopeful to "have clear answers by the middle of next week" on when those aged 12 to 15 will be invited to register for vaccination.
The HSE's National Director and Lead for the Vaccination Programme has said the centres will open in an effort to maximise the opportunity for people to be vaccinated over the bank holiday period.
Speaking on RTÉ's Morning Ireland, Damien McCallion said an aim of the walk-in centres is to encourage more uptake of vaccines when people may not be in their home county, and can avail of the vaccine elsewhere.
"You can go to any clinic, it is for the Pfizer vaccine and opens today with all times and centres listed online," he said.
He said if people avail of a vaccine while on holidays this weekend, they will be offered a second dose closer to their home address in the weeks ahead.
Clinics will work to designated times, and 16-17 year olds do not require parental consent to be vaccinated.
Mr McCallion said that over 71% of the eligible population have now been fully vaccinated and 86% are partially vaccinated.
A consent process for those aged 12-15 is currently being incorporated into the HSE system, he said, to allow registrations for this age group in the coming weeks.
He added that he expects those in that age cohort to be offered a vaccine in August.
Yesterday, the European Medicines Agency said it has confidence in the safety and efficacy of mRNA Covid-19 vaccines for use among those aged 12-15.
Mr McCallion also said the HSE is conscious of health inequality in disadvantaged areas and has teams working in such communities to encourage people to come forward for vaccination.
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With incidence of #COVID19 continuing to rise in Ireland, it is important that people understand the level of risk in their local area. The 5 counties with the highest 14 day incidence are now Donegal (954/100,000), Louth (633/), Galway (516/), Laois (496/) and Monaghan (443/). pic.twitter.com/wsHs5YdBXq— Dr Ronan Glynn (@ronan_glynn) July 30, 2021
It comes as the Deputy Chief Medical Officer has said that it is important people understand the level of risk in their local area.
In an update this morning, Dr Ronan Glynn said the five counties with the highest 14-day incidence are Donegal, Louth, Galway, Laois and Monaghan.
Local areas with the highest incidence include Carndonagh, Buncrana, Galway city central and Westport.
There has been a steady rise in hospitalisations from Covid-19 over the last four weeks, rising from 39 patients to 169 in that period, according to HSE Chief Executive Paul Reid.
He said that "while we are seeing some positive indicators in virus trends and daily cases over the last few days, we are certainly not out of the woods".