Digital Desk Staff
Updated at 4pm
Taoiseach Micheál Martin has praised the “positive uptake” of Covid-19 vaccinations at walk-in clinics which opening around the country this bank holiday weekend.
The beginning of walk-in vaccinations comes as 1,427 new cases of the virus were confirmed in the Republic on Saturday. There is now also 164 people with Covid in hospital, 26 of whom are in ICU.
On Saturday morning, clinics around the country began offering walk-in options for those aged over 16 who have yet to receive a first dose of a vaccine. Many teenagers were among those queueing outside the Citywest Convention Centre in Dublin on Saturday morning, where vaccinations were offered between 8am and noon.
Mr Martin tweeted: “Great to see the walk-in #Covid19 vaccine clinics up and running — and the positive uptake already.”
— Micheál Martin (@MichealMartinTD) July 31, 2021
HSE chief executive Paul Reid was also in a positive mood saying that Ireland is on the “final countdown to protect ourselves & to rebuild”.
“This weekend we can further strengthen our defence lines against #Delta. “Walk In Vaccination Centres” for all adults to receive a dose 1 are now available. After just 7 months of the vaccination programme we’re on the final countdown to protect ourselves & to rebuild,” Mr Reid tweeted on Saturday morning.
An appointment is not needed during the allocated times but those who show up outside of these times will not be vaccinated. People can also register online for an appointment.
Meanwhile, up to 40,000 fans are to be allowed to attend the All-Ireland finals in Croke Park in a further step towards easing Covid-19 restrictions.
Walk in Vaccination Centres all across the country are off to a great start this weekend. City West is flying it, with over 800 people vaccinated in the first 1.5 hours. Smaller centres equally reporting a good turnout. A great response by the Irish people. @HSELive pic.twitter.com/QpfgDXZHBz
— Paul Reid (@paulreiddublin) July 31, 2021
The possibility remains that a sharp rise in case numbers or poor compliance with attendance guidelines by spectators could see the decision reversed.
However, there is confidence in Government that the large gatherings will go ahead, bolstered by the rising level of vaccination among adults and the absence of infections linked to pilot matches held so far.
About 25,000 fans are also to be allowed to attend the Republic of Ireland’s World Cup qualifiers in the Aviva stadium in September under the plan announced by Minister of State for Sport Jack Chambers on Friday.
He said the plan “is an important signal of how far we have come as a country”.
Alongside the mandatory wearing of face-coverings, fans will be expected to maintain social distancing as they enter and leave stadiums. Matchgoers must provide contact details when purchasing tickets and are encouraged to have the Covid tracker app for smartphones.
Meanwhile, the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control warned against all but essential travel to much of Spain, including the holiday islands of Ibiza, Minorca and Palma.
It also warned about travel to most of the Netherlands, Cyprus, Corsica and the popular tourism spots of the south Greek Aegean islands due to a boom in Covid-19 cases.
Travel within the European Union has been facilitated by the Digital Covid Certificate for proving a person is fully vaccinated, has recently recovered from the virus or has had a negative pre-departure test.
The Government on Friday launched an online portal to help people access their certificates as members of the public continued to complain about long delays on helplines that were set up earlier this month.
The portal, covidcertificateportal.gov.ie, allows people to request changes to a certificate already received or to check the status of their certificate.