The registration portal for children aged 12-15 to receive a Covid-19 vaccine opened this evening.

Parents or guardians can register their children for the jab. They will be required to give consent for their child to be vaccinated and an adult should accompany the child to their appointment, the HSE said.

They will be offered a Pfizer or Moderna vaccine through a vaccination centre. Children in this age group can also be vaccinated at participating GPs and pharmacies.

Separately, the vaccination centre at Citywest will run a evening walk-in clinic on Thursday.

The clinic will be open from 6pm to 10am and anyone over 16 who is not yet vaccinated can attend for a first dose of a Covid-19 vaccine.

People who have registered in advance should bring photo ID (including proof of date of birth). For anyone who has not pre-registered, they should also bring their PPS number and eircode, and will be asked for a mobile phone number and email address.

Meanwhile, new figures show that over 78% of adults are now fully vaccinated against Covid-19. It represents almost 60% of the population.

In a posting on social media, Professor Brian MacCraith, the Chairperson of the High Level Task Force on Covid-19 Vaccination, said that over 89% of adults have now received at least one dose.

Almost 6.2 million vaccines have been administered.

Deputy Chief Medical Officer, Dr Ronan Glynn, has said that uptake of vaccination has been remarkably high in Ireland and continues to increase.

He said that in recent weeks there has been increased commentary, both nationally and internationally, relating to infections in people who have been fully vaccinated.

Dr Glynn said that as vaccination rates increase, there will be more vaccinated and fewer unvaccinated people in the population.

As a result, the proportion of cases in vaccinated people will increase.

"For example, if all of the population were to get vaccinated then, clearly, 100% of COVID-19 cases would be in those who had been vaccinated. This does not mean that vaccines are not working," he said.

Dr Glynn said that of 169 adults admitted to ICU with Covid-19 since 1 April, just 6 had been fully vaccinated more than 14 days prior to their diagnosis.

Of 155 adults who have died with Covid-19 since 1 April, just 7 had been fully vaccinated more than 14 days prior to their diagnosis.


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Close contacts portal

The Health Service Executive has also launched its portal for people to list their close contacts.

The link will be sent via text to people when they are notified that they are Covid-19 positive after testing.

The portal began operating today and the HSE said it will enable faster tracing.

When a person is notified that they are Covid-19 positive after testing, the HSE will now send them a text-message link, to a portal, to list their close contacts.

When a person lists their close contacts, the HSE will contact these people by text to notify them.

The HSE has said that the portal is legal and meets GDPR rules.

It told RTÉ News that the data is collected under infectious diseases legislation and this is a special permitted category under GDPR.

The HSE said it has always used this legislation in relation to contact tracing other conditions like TB, meningococcal disease, and measles and that the data is confidential.

Third-level education

Covid-19 vaccination for third-level students should be mandatory, Trinity College Assistant Professor at the School of Biochemistry and Immunology Tomás Ryan has said.

Speaking on RTÉ's Drivetime, he said: "You're bringing large numbers of people together and you want to be assured that there's no risk of this creating a spreader event that will produce risks to the community, risks to staff, indeed risks to vulnerable students."

Third-level campuses have been far emptier over the past 18 months due to Covid-19 restrictions, but institutions have been planning for a safe return to on-site learning in September.

However, Dr Ryan said it is much more secure if everyone, except for those who can't for medical reasons, are vaccinated.

He said the simplest way would be to make vaccination mandatory for access to a university, in general.

"We're entering into a very uncertain winter period, particularly in this country, the cases are very high and they're going to get higher," he said. "We're going to be seeing, I think, that vaccines alone as a strategy is not going to be as effective as we think it is, until we get cases low."

Speaking on the same programme, the General Secretary designate of The Irish Federation of University Teachers said he doesn't believe mandatory vaccination is required for third level students.

Frank Jones said if the public health advice is followed, including the use of masks, social distancing and ventilation, that in itself should be an adequate measure.

He said there's a crisis of funding and overcrowding in universities, so adhering to social distancing may be a challenge.

The President of the Union of Students in Ireland Claire Austick, meanwhile, is calling on third level institutions to meet their student union representatives to work out a system where students who are unvaccinated will be able to access restaurants and cafes on campuses.

She said "many students with underlying medical illnesses won't be able to avail of a vaccine and they shouldn't be prevented from accessing education".

She the framework that was initially created in June around the safe return to on-campus learning was not created with the expectation that all students and staff would be fully vaccinated at that point.