Several pharmacies across County Kildare are now administering Covid-19 vaccines for the first time.
Vista Allcare Pharmacy in Naas is one of the 1,000 nationwide outlets which are participating and confirmed its supply of vaccines are due on June 21 and staff will begin administering jabs soon afterwards.
A spokesperson said: "We have applied to vaccinate approximately 60 people per day. We are taking bookings currently which will run from 8am to 12 midnight over 7 days per week."
Local Boots outlets in Naas, Monread, Maynooth and the Whitewater Shopping Centre in Newbridge also confirmed they will be offering the Covid-19 vaccine.
Customers aged 50+ can book an appointment at Boots via boots.ie/covid-vaccination.
Director of Pharmacy and Superintendent Pharmacist at Boots Ireland Caoimhe McAuley, MPSI, said: “We are delighted to begin the vital work of administering Covid-19 vaccines throughout the Boots Ireland pharmacy network.
Our experience in delivering vaccinations has been well established through the provision of the flu, pneumococcal, shingles and travel vaccinations. We look forward to applying this expertise and experience to vaccinating people against COVID-19 as the country continues to fight the pandemic.”
Initially, 60,000 doses of the single shot Janssen vaccine - made by pharma giant Johnson & Johnson - will be distributed to participating pharmacies.
Pharmacists will be administering the vaccines to people aged 50 and over, who have not yet been vaccinated.
There is no need to register online for the service, but people will need to book a vaccine appointment with the pharmacy.
The Irish Pharmacy Union said there were around 140,000 people over the age of 50 who have not yet received a Covid-19 vaccine.
A survey found that 85 per cent of people live within 5km of a pharmacy but people in rural communities were being asked to travel significant distances to vaccination centres when they could be vaccinated at their local pharmacy.
More than 1,200 pharmacists had submitted expressions of interest to the HSE to administer the vaccines.
Pharmacist Jim Connolly of Connolly’s Pharmacy in Kildare town said he has registered his interest with the HSE.
“The scheme will probably suit the larger pharmacies and the pharmacy chains because you will need a separate space to administer the vaccines,” he said.
“There would also need to be two or three pharmacists on site because one pharmacist will need to continue dispensing medicines to customers.”
Mr Connolly also said that there are currently less risk factors related to older people as many are fully vaccinated.
He also referenced falling numbers in hospital wards and ICU departments due to the national vaccination programme.
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