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GPs will be first to use online system to register for a vaccine

The aim is to have them all vaccinated by the end of February

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The online registration system for the Covid-19 vaccine which will be open to the public in the coming months has been launched – but only GPs will use it first.

The new portal was supposed to be activated over the weekend for GPs but was delayed because of the need to make adjustments, doctors have been told.

GPs had been concerned that they were being overlooked for access to vaccinations for themselves, although they are frontline healthcare workers.

However, they may not all be vaccinated until the end of February prompting one doctor to remark that family doctors are left “scrambling for crumbs".

A message to GPs from the Irish Medical Organisation and the Irish College of General Practitioners late on Tuesday night said the portal is now up and running and they can register to get the vaccine.

Around 1,500 GPs will get it through an arrangement with nursing homes when supplies arrive locally for residents and staff.

Another 1,800 GPs and their practice nurses will be vaccinated in three locations nationally at designated clinics. This will mean GPs and staff travelling to the clinic because the vaccine is fragile and cannot be transported across the country.

In the last week of January around 3,000 GPs and practice nurses will be given the vaccine in dedicated vaccine centres and acute settings.

From the end of January onwards, all remaining practice team members will be scheduled an appointment either in acute or community setting, depending on what kind of vaccines are available at the time.

A guaranteed supply of vaccines has been secured for GPs. The aim is to have them all vaccinated by the end of February.

The message says that GPs will be critical to the delivery of successful vaccination to the wider population “building on your vast experience in previous vaccination campaigns and the long established relationship with patients”.

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