The Taoiseach has told the Fianna Fáil parliamentary party meeting that spectators will be trialled at outdoor sports events in July.

Last month Dublin's Euro 2020 games - which had been scheduled to take place in June - were moved to Russia and London as the FAI and the Government were unable to guarantee spectator attendance.

Micheál Martin also said that Ireland would be part of the EU programme on travel and will restore connectivity as soon as it is safe to do so. He said this was crucial for aviation and tourism.

Meanwhile, pharmacists have been sidelined from the national vaccination programme, with 2,000 fully-trained vaccinators "ready to go", according to the Irish Pharmacy Union.

IPU Secretary General Darragh O'Loughlin said people need to get vaccines "as easily, as conveniently and as locally as possible" and that pharmacies are well-placed to make this happen.

Speaking on RTÉ's Today with Claire Byrne, he said the notion of running vaccination centres for 24 hours a day on the basis that people are so desperate they would turn up for one at 4am, instead of opening up pharmacies to vaccination, is difficult to understand.

Mr O'Loughlin said 1,200 pharmacists have expressed an interest in providing the service and 2,000 are fully-trained vaccinators that are "ready to go", but have been sidelined by the Health Service Executive.

He said nobody has asked for all-night centres for vaccination, but people were asking pharmacists every day to vaccinate them.

He said GPs have done great work in vaccinating people but they cannot keep up with their regular work as a result.

A Monaghan-based GP said she does not believe there is currently an appetite among the public for 24-hour vaccine access, but said that could change if there was the bonus of a vaccine passport that allowed more access to travel and events.

Speaking on the same programme, Dr Ilona Duffy said at present it is at-risk patients and those with underlying illness, as well as those who live with a high-risk person who are contacting surgeries seeking vaccination.

She also said that NIAC needs to consider whether it is necessary for people to wait onsite for 15 minutes after vaccination, as this could open up more settings for vaccination.


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The lead medical consultant at the Tropical Medical Bureau said a significant number of people are coming in for PCR tests to enable them to travel to their home countries so they can get a Covid-19 vaccine.

Dr Graham Fry said vaccination centres should be open until 10pm and the idea of drive through vaccination centres should be examined.

He also said it does not make sense to keep changing the protocols around AstraZeneca because this is making people feel uncertain about a vaccine that "99.99% of people" will not have a problem with.

Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly said decisions will be made later this week on the vaccination programme, following recommendations from the HSE.

He said he will be speaking to the Chief Medical Officer and the National Immunisation Advisory Committee about it.

Minister Donnelly said a key issue was safety, vaccinating those most at risk and also not leaving any spare vaccines.

The issue was raised briefly at Cabinet yesterday but no decision has yet been taken on the proposals.

The plan advises that vaccinations continue to be age-based, with older people vaccinated before younger people.

It also would allow for the AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson vaccines to be given to people under 50, if there was no other vaccine available.

Any alteration to vaccine administration would need to be in line with the advice from NIAC.

Minister Donnelly also said that having vaccination centres open 24 hours a day is not needed at this stage, as the system has the capacity to administer vaccinations.

He said that 38 vaccination centres will be open and GPs and pharmacists will also be involved.

Meanwhile, people aged 58 can now register for vaccination.

People from the Roma and Traveller communities should be prioritised for vaccination given the extreme poverty and poor, cramped conditions they live in, according to the CEO of medical charity Safetynet.

Dr Fiona O'Reilly said the pandemic has made stark "the extreme poverty and inequity" in the country in halting sites and among the Roma communities.

She said the charity is delighted to be vaccinating 120 medically-vulnerably people who are homeless, living in direct provision centres or from other marginalised communities today after working closely with these communities during the pandemic.

Dr O'Reilly said there was evidence to show that young people from the Roma and Traveller communities were very sick and had very poor outcomes after contracting Covid-19.

She said it was easy to see how Covid-19 spread in overcrowded conditions and that some individuals in halting sites chose to sleep in their car rather than be isolated from their family.

Additional reporting Fergal Bowers